Members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus as well as those from both the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses took to the front steps of the Capitol on Tuesday to again bring their message of change regarding the state flag.
“As the only state that still incorporates the Confederate Battle symbol it is the time of the state of Mississippi to shift and embrace fairness and change. The position of the legislative black caucus is that it is our time, it is past time for the current flag to be changed,” said Sen. Angela Turner-Ford.
When it comes to how the flag should be changed, all members of these groups agree, it should not go to a ballot vote in November, but be left up to the Legislature before the end of the 2020 session.
In the event it is brought up for a vote this year and does not pass, Representative Robert Johnson said that they will come back in January and do it. He said he would rather risk a down vote in 2020 than not try at all.
“Then we come back in January and vote on it again. But what we don’t want and don’t want to take the chance on, we don’t want to have the divisive mechanism of putting it on the ballot in November with Cindy Hyde-Smith running against Mike Espy, Donald Trump against Joe Biden and all this hate language that we will have in this period. We are willing to take a down vote and lose and come back in January and try it again,” said Johnson.
Johnson spoke along with Rep. Chris Bell who said there have been meetings among members and House leadership to discuss a potential change. Those included in the meetings were charged with collecting votes for the measure. Johnson said it is unclear at this time how many votes the majority have been able to secure on the matter but he believes most of them are in favor of it.
He added that more and more conversations are happening with elected officials in Washington and members of the state legislative body about changing the flag. He feels assured that there will be a vote before the 2020 session is over.
“That is happening, it’s not being talked about but we are going to have a chance to vote on something before we leave here this session,” said Johnson.