Mississippi’s state flag will continue to include the Confederate battle emblem for the foreseeable future, after state lawmakers on Thursday refused to support bills to remove the controversial symbol.
Despite “massive” pressure from the Obama Administration, and boycott threats from left-wing groups and ‘Black Lives Matter,’ the flag is here to stay.
There were 12 different bills in the Mississippi Legislature to either redesign, change, or remove the Confederate symbol from the state’s 122-year-old flag. But they all died on Thursday for lack of support, which was the deadline for lawmakers to act on bills that were stuck in legislative committees.
Mississippi legislators this year won’t attempt to redesign the last state flag that features the Confederate battle emblem because leaders there is “no majority” to remove the symbol from the 122-year-old banner.
Thursaday was the deadline for legislative committees to act on general bills, and flag proposals are among hundreds of measures that died without being brought up for debate.
Some bills proposed redesigning the flag to remove the rebel cross, while others would have stripped state money from colleges and local governments that refuse to fly the current banner. One bill offered separate-but-equal flags, keeping the current one and having a second with a magnolia tree.
All of the bills failed to win a majority vote.
The public display of Confederate symbols has been widely debated since the slaying of nine black worshipers last June at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The white man charged had previously posed for photos with the rebel flag.
Days after the Charleston shootings, Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn became the first prominent Republican to say his state should redesign its flag to remove the Confederate emblem — a red field topped by a blue X dotted by 13 white stars. Gunn cited his Christian faith and said it had become “a point of offense that needs to be removed.”
As the legislative deadline approached, Gunn said Monday that he thinks voters should choose a flag design.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has been saying for months that this November would be a good time for a flag election because presidential races typically have big turnout. “Let the people decide,” Bryant insisted, as plans move forward for a November ballot to do just that.
Polls in December showed strong public support to keep the Confederate-based state flag.