The Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate took historic votes over the weekend that removes the divisive state flag with the Confederate battle emblem and will replace it with one that voters can choose in November.
Both chambers cleared a major hurdle on Saturday with votes to suspend the rules that required a two-thirds majority, setting the stage for each to take up a bill to change the flag. The resolution passed 84-35 in the House and 36-14 in the Senate. The House needed 82 votes and the Senate needed 35 votes to advance the measure.
On Sunday, a bill that needed only a simple majority was passed in both chambers — 91-23 in the House and 37-14 in the Senate – that would formally remove the existing flag, which had flown in the state since 1894.
“I commend our legislators on these landmark votes for a new Mississippi,” said Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson. “It’s the most historic decision to come out of Jackson in my lifetime.
“Perceptions of our state will change around the nation and around the world. We can move forward now under a new flag that will unite us and help us reach our potential of economic prosperity for all Mississipians.”
The Mississippi Economic Council, with Wilson as chair, placed an “It’s Time” full-page ad in papers across the state on Wednesday that was supported by more than 100 state business and industry leaders. Support for the “It’s Time” campaign has grown to more than 1,000 businesses and individuals. Other groups also lended support to legislators to change the flag over the past week.
According to the bill, a commission would be created to design a new state flag and make its recommendation by Sept. 14. Voters would vote on it on Nov. 3 in a special election.
The resolution also dictates that the new flag can’t include the Confederate battle flag but must include the words “In God We Trust.” One of the flags that previously has been proposed as a replacement includes the state seal, which includes those words.
If voters reject the commission’s design, it would produce another option during the 2021 legislative session.
The bill now goes to Gov. Tate Reeves, who has indicated he will sign it into law.
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for more than 188,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. With nearly 160 megawatts of approved solar energy capacity, Mississippi Power is the largest partner in providing renewable energy in the state of Mississippi. Visit our websites at mississippipower.com and mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.