JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators this year won’t attempt to redesign the last state flag that features the Confederate battle emblem because leaders say they can’t find a majority to remove the symbol from the 122-year-old banner.
Tuesday 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.
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.