Mississippi House starts process to change state’s flag

Mississippi To Vote On New State Flag
387975 02: The Mississippi State flags flies April 17, 2001 in Pascagoula, MS. Voters will decide whether to replace the state's old flag, which sports the Confederate battle cross, with a new flag that would have 20 white stars on a blue square. (Photo by Bill Colgin/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The Mississippi State House passed a resolution on Saturday that will begin the process to change the state’s flag.

By a vote of 85-34, the newly passed resolution suspends the chamber’s rules so that lawmakers can consider a bill that would change or remove the flag. As the resolution passed, loud cheers could be heard throughout the chamber.

Saturday’s vote is the first step toward removal of the state’s flag. The measure now moves to a Senate committee before going to the chamber.

Mississippi lawmakers in recent weeks have been weighing removing the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag amid the continued racial justice protests.

Mississippi is the last state in the country whose flag features the Confederate emblem. The state flag features red, white and blue stripes with the Confederate battle emblem in the corner. It was first adopted in 1894.

Earlier on Saturday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, said in a tweet that he would sign a bill to remove Confederate imagery from the state flag if the legislature sends him a bill this weekend.

“The legislature has been deadlocked for days as it considers a new state flag. The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it’s time to end it. If they send me a bill this weekend, I will sign it,” Reeves said.

“We should not be under any illusion that a vote in the Capitol is the end of what must be done — the job before is us to bring the state together and I intend to work night and day to do it,” Reeves said.

“It will be harder than recovering from tornadoes, harder than historic floods, harder than agency corruption, or prison riots or the coming hurricane season — even harder than battling the Coronavirus,” he added.

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