The newly formed state flag commission held their first meeting at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson on Wednesday. The meeting featured Speaker of the House Philip Gunn who welcomed the members and expressed the seriousness of what they are about to tackle.
“To the commissioners, first of all let me say thank you for your willingness to serve,” said Gunn. “I want you to understand the weight of what you’re about to do. The last flag we had existed for about 126 years and what we are about to set a course on is going to last beyond the lifetimes of any of us.”
At Wednesday’s meeting they went over the charge of the Commission as outlined in HB 1796. They are required to submit a design for the ballot by September 14, 2020 which contains the words “In God We Trust” and has no confederate battle symbols.
They discussed that some Circuit Clerks were concerned that the date provided would be cutting it close to preparing ballots so the Commission agreed to work a little faster, hoping to have an agreement on a design by the beginning of September. They also moved to bump up the submission deadline to the beginning of August (August 6 was mentioned but an official confirmation will come from MDAH).
Members moved to elect Judge Reuben Anderson as the Chairperson for the Commission.
The Commission is made up of nine members, however only six have currently been appointed. Those left will come from Governor Tate Reeves and derive from the Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi Department of Archives and History and Mississippi Arts Commission.
The plan as it stands now is for the entire commission to review all submissions that pass the initial guidelines, they will then narrow them down to 25 and discuss as a group. TJ Taylor gave the recommendation that the top five flags be flown in order to get a full visual of what that design would look like. Other members also agreed that once a top five was selected, they should be released for public feedback. The designs would then be narrowed down to one that will appear on the November ballot.