Gunn says legislature still has time to make flag change

With Friday quickly approaching, time is dwindling for the Mississippi Legislature to make a decision on the flag, and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn does not want to see the issue pushed to a referendum.

“I am not a fan of the referendum,” he said. “One of the things that concerns me about that is just the campaign that would ensue. It’s not healthy for Mississippians. This is something that needs to be addressed in short order. We need to get this behind us as a state and the legislature should take action on it.”

Just last week, Gunn told News Mississippi that he did not consider the legislature making an outright change to the flag to be “reality,” however, now the longtime Speaker of the House is saying that he is “optimistic” that the legislature will make a decision before the conclusion of the 2020 session.

“I remain optimistic that it can be done,” Gunn explained. “It is certainly within the purview of the legislature to handle this. I think for the health and the best interest of our state, that’s where it needs to be handled…It’s just the right thing to do to let the legislature take care of this and do their job, and it would be quick and painless and we would not have to endure the protests and all that’s going to go along with [a referendum].”

Now that Governor Tate Reeves has rejected a two-flag solution, the only options left on the table for lawmakers are to implement the aforementioned referendum that would allow the people to vote on the issue or make a decision themselves through a suspension of the rules.