As session nears an end, lawmakers weigh options on flag

Lawmakers intend to leave Jackson by the end of the week, but with the conversation of the Mississippi state flag looming, what are their options regarding the controversial banner dividing the state?

Essentially, there are two options for the legislature now that a potential flag-changing resolution died in committee: (1) they can implement a referendum that would allow the people of Mississippi to vote on the issue, or (2) they could use a two-flag solution, which would retain the current flag while also adopting another official banner.

While Speaker of the House Philip Gunn has said he wouldn’t mind if the legislature voted for an outright change, he doesn’t consider the option to be “reality.”

“In order to get a bill like this before the legislature, it would take a 2/3 vote to suspend the rules. That is a high bar to reach,” he said. “I don’t have a problem taking this vote. I wish more of my colleagues felt this way.”

Nevertheless, Gunn does think the issue could be pushed to a referendum, however, it would not be a timely process.

“I think we could probably achieve [a vote by the people] with a referendum,” he continued. “I don’t know that we would have time to contemplate all that and to do it in the right way and get it on the ballot in November.”

If the Mississippi Legislature isn’t going to change it themselves and they are not going to be able to place the issue on the ballot “in the right way” by November, then when will Mississippians get a say on a banner that touts the Confederate battle emblem?

“I will say, most likely, it will be next year at the earliest,” Gunn predicted.

As for the two-flag solution, Governor Tate Reeves provided his thoughts on Twitter Monday morning, stating that the idea isn’t a “viable alternative.”

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate gavelled in at 10:00 this morning.