The Mississippi state House of Representatives enacted legislation to change the Magnolia state flag, the latest in the country to still include the stars and bars of the Confederacy.
The chamber advanced the bill by an 84-35 margin, allowing lawmakers in the State House to reach the two-thirds majority necessary to suspend the rules to consider the change.
The House may consider the legislation and vote on the measure, which would be passed to the Senate if approved.
The resolution would establish a commission to redesign the flag, with the goal of removing the Confederate battle emblem. The resolution is the first legislative effort to change the flag since a 2001 electoral initiative was defeated by a margin of almost 2-1.
The flag was adopted in 1894 by white lawmakers and is the last in the nation to include the Confederate emblem.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) on Saturday first came out in support of the bill after first saying that a flag change should be left to voters.
“The legislature has been stagnant for days as it considers a new state flag,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “The discussion about the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it is time to end it. If they send me an invoice this weekend, I will sign it. ”
“For economic prosperity and for a better future for my children and yours, we must find a way to unite. To heal our wounds, to forgive, to resolve that the page has been turned, to trust each other. With God’s help, we can, “he added.
The state has received a flood of criticism of its flag amid widespread racial justice protests following the police killings of George Floyd and other African-Americans.
In addition to criticism from protesters, Mississippi has also been pressured by high-profile companies and organizations.
Walmart no longer displays the Mississippi flag in stores in compliance with its “don’t sell Confederate flag merchandise in stores and online sites,” and the NCAA has banned any college championship event from being played in states where the flag Confederate is prominently displayed, a policy that would affect only Mississippi.