JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Legislature cleared the way for a vote to change the state flag Saturday when both chambers voted to suspend the deadlines. the House started the process of officially changing the state flag Sunday. That started in the rules committee. House Bill 1796 says a nine member commission will be created to design the new flag. The new design can’t include the Confederate emblem and must include “In God We Trust.” It would be voted on by the people in November. If they don’t approve it, they’ll try again with a new design.
The change is one that many members say is necessary.
“Today, you can get your ticket for that train of unification,” noted Rep. Jerry Turner.
“For a greater good that we can all be behind,” said Rep. Jason White as he made the final request for members to support the bill.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 91-23 and a standing ovation followed.
”I want people to understand, this change is coming from within our state,” explained Speaker Philip Gunn. “This is not the result of outside influences. The hearts of the people in that chamber behind me were changed.“
”Now that this is gone, I think that now people will begin to say, they’ll begin to look and see who the real Mississippi is,” said Rep. Robert Johnson. “They’ll begin to see that we’re more than what that flag represents. That we are people that care for each other, that are willing to work together and willing to go forward together. And that’s what that says today.”
It quickly moved to the Senate where it moved out of committee and to the floor.
“I respect you and I greatly appreciate the stand that many of you have taken on this issue,” said Sen. Briggs Hopson, who fielded several questions from his colleagues about the inner-workings of the bill.
More Senators questioned the bill and seemingly wanted to make their place in history known.
”I would ask that you obviously vote against this bill,” pleaded Sen. Chris McDaniel. “Let’s move it to a referendum.”
“Let’s pass this because it’s the right thing to do,” noted Sen. David Jordan. “We cannot continue to stumble backwards. We lost the war.”
”Let’s vote today for the Mississippi of tomorrow,” said Sen. Derrick Simmons.
By a vote of 37-14, the bill passed the Mississippi Senate with thunderous applause.
”This is the way we ought to be,” noted Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann. “I always thought Mississippi needed to make sure we had a heart and a soul and today we did.”
Governor Tate Reeves has indicated via social media that he plans to sign the bill. He has not yet said what day he plans to do so.