Gunn: flag change vote “will be next year at the earliest”

In just the last couple days, both the SEC and NCAA have joined forces to pressure the Mississippi Legislature into amending the current state flag or none of the state’s universities will be allowed to host postseason events.

“We were beginning to see a wave of negativity against this emblem, but when the NCAA and the SEC weighed in, it kind of raised the stakes a little bit,” Speaker of the House Philip Gunn said. “I, for one, believe it is time to make that change.”

While Gunn continues to be vocal about his personal opinion of the flag, he will need 2/3 of his colleagues from both the House of Representatives and the Senate to back him up if he wants to see anything done about it before the legislature leaves the capitol next Friday.

“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 continued. “I don’t have a problem taking this vote. I wish more of my colleagues felt this way.”

The legislature making a move on the removal of the state flag—even with threats from the SEC and the NCAA on the table—has proven to be a “high bar to reach” as a group of Mississippi senators recently introduced a resolution to suspend the rules that was not able to make it through the Senate Constitution Committee and on to the floor.

So, is there another way to change the flag if the legislature is not going to do it themselves? Technically, the answer is yes, however, the process would take over half a year, according to Gunn.

“I think we could probably achieve [a vote by the people] with a referendum,” he explained. “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. I will say, most likely, it will be next year at the earliest.”

All in all, if what Gunn is saying is true, it does not look as if the state of Mississippi’s flag will be changing or as if Mississippi universities will be hosting postseason events until 2021 at the earliest.