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Mississippi Gov. signs bill to remove Confederate symbol from state flag

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed a bill on Tuesday to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, after the state's House and Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the measure.

Why it matters: Mississippi was the last state in the U.S. to incorporate the Confederate battle symbol into its flag.


Driving the news: There was largely bipartisan support for the bill, which the House passed 91-23 on Sunday afternoon and the Senate voted 36-14 in favor of later.

  • Reeves (R) said for the first time publicly on Saturday that he would sign the bill. The flag will no longer have official status once he signs the measure.

Of note: Walmart said last week it would no longer display the Mississippi state flag in its stores because of the Confederate symbol.

  • The NCAA announced earlier this month it would no longer hold championship events in Mississippi due to the emblem.
  • On Saturday, the Mississippi House passed a resolution to extend its deadline to consider a bill that would allow them to change the flag. The Senate then quickly adopted the resolution for consideration.

What they're saying: "The legislature has been deadlocked for days as it considers a new state flag," Reeves tweeted. "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."

  • "Folks it's inevitable, that at some point this flag is going to change," Republican Sen. Briggs Hopson told his colleagues at the Senate vote.
  • "We all want a flag that unites us. But is it possible?" Republican Sen. Chris McDaniel said on Saturday, arguing that removing the Confederate symbol would alienate those who support it.

What's next: Mississippi residents will vote in November on a new flag design by a commission that has to include the words "In God We Trust," per AP.

  • "If they reject it, the commission will set a different design using the same guidelines, and that would be sent to voters later," AP notes.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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