*This story will be updated as HB 1796 advances through the legislative process.
Following Saturday’s historic action taken by the Mississippi Legislature, a bill seeking to remove and change the divisive state flag has officially been introduced.
HB 1796, ‘an act to establish the commission to redesign the Mississippi state flag’, has passed out of the House Rules Committee and its journey through the legislative process has begun. It will now be sent to the House floor.
If the bill passes, the commission to design the flag would be made up of nine members. Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann and Governor Tate Reeves will each appoint three people to the commission. The bill dictates that the Governor’s appointments must include a representative from the Mississippi Economic Council, the Arts Council and the Department of Archives and History.
It is important to note that while the resolution to suspend the rules needed a two-thirds majority to pass, the bill to change the flag will only need a simple majority in both chambers.
While the bill could be amended throughout the process, Rep. White explained Saturday that, at its core, it will seek to remove the current state flag immediately and establish a commission to design a new proposed state flag with two stipulations – no Confederate battle emblem and it must include the phrase ‘In God We Trust.’
The design of the flag would then be submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office by September 14th before it can be voted upon by Mississippians on November 3rd. If that design doesn’t receive a majority of the vote, a new design would be submitted during the 2021 legislative session.
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