JACKSON, Miss. (WMC) - Legislators in Mississippi made history Sunday, voting to remove the controversial state flag containing the Confederate battle emblem and allowing Mississippians to decide a new flag design later this year.
Experts thought Sunday’s vote might be close after years of battling and debate over the state flag but legislators in Mississippi surprised the nation, by overwhelming supporting House Bill 1796 to remove the state flag.
It’s a vote that marks a moment in time that some have been fighting for, for generations. And instead of in-fighting and passionate debate that many expected, there was calm in both the House and Senate.
Experts say it’s a shocking and unprecedented display of unity from Mississippi legislators.
All Mississippi state flags will now be removed within 15 days.
A 9-person commission to design a new flag will be appointed by Sept. 14 to come up with a single flag design voted on by Mississippians during the election on Nov. 3.
The commission will be made up of three appointments by the Speaker of the House, three appointments by the Lieutenant Governor and three appointments by Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves.
If the flag design chosen does not get a majority vote, then the commission will design another one to be voted on in a special election, and that process will repeat until a majority approve of the new flag.
The final words spoken by a House Representative before the overwhelming vote in the House:
“I would ask all of you to vote green in the affirmative, for all things that are good about Mississippi,” said Rep. Jason White, Republican House Speaker Pro-Tempore. “For a greater good that we can all be behind. Mr. Speaker, I would move for a final passage.”
Reeves has already stated that if a bill is passed this weekend by the legislature, that he would sign it making it the final hurdle of the bill.
It’s unclear exactly when Reeves will sign the bill but that could come as soon as later Sunday evening or Monday.
A historic day in Mississippi that has caught the attention of the entire nation.