The new state flag for Mississippi cannot have a Confederate symbol on it. It must have the words, "In God We Trust." But there are basically no other constraints on the design, which was clear from the almost 3,000 possibilities submitted by the public, the AP reports. After narrowing down the nominations to 147, the state commission acknowledged that one design made the cut that shouldn't have: a circle of stars around a large mosquito. Although the mosquito's place in Mississippi is unquestioned, one of the commissioners blamed a typo in the list of chosen flag numbers and asked that the design be eliminated from the Round Two group. The design quest was launched after the state in June retired the flag it had used since 1894 because it incorporated a Confederate battle emblem.
The remaining 146 proposed designs feature magnolias, stars, the state seal, and indicators of water that could stand in for the Mississippi River or Gulf of Mexico. There's one with a lighthouse, too. Guitars, beer cans, a largemouth bass, and the Southeastern Conference logo did not make the cut, per CNN. A teddy bear design doesn't seem to be in the panel's gallery of remaining possibilities, either. The commission's nine members are to choose the final five designs Friday, then post them to allow for public comment. The commission's choice will be made by early next month and be on the ballot in November for voters' approval. If voters don't like it, the commission will start over. "We have a challenge before us," the commission chair said, "but I can assure you of one thing: We are going to design and approve a flag that Mississippi can be proud of." (The NCAA had pressured Mississippi to change its flag.)