A bipartisan group of Mississippi lawmakers are drafting a resolution this week to take the Confederate battle emblem off of the state’s flag, Mississippi Today reported.
The draft being developing by roughly a dozen Republican and Democratic lawmakers would be the first legislative push to change the state flag since residents voted nearly 2-to-1 to keep the current flag in 2001.
Mississippi’s flag, which was adopted in 1894 by all-white lawmakers, is the last remaining state to include the Confederate emblem.
According to the outlet, the draft would change the current design to the Stennis Flag, which features include a big blue star encircled by 19 smaller stars that are flanked by red bands.
Mississippi state House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) reportedly told lawmakers that he would back a suspension resolution to adopt a new flag if roughly 30 Republican members verbally supported it.
Two-thirds of the 120 state House members would need to vote in favor of suspending the rules to consider the change. It would then need to move through the typical legislative process by a majority vote, before moving to the state Senate.
If the bill passed through both chambers, it would be up to Gov. Tate Reeves (R) to sign.
Reeves, however, on Monday said that voters should decide on the issue instead of lawmakers.
“There are a lot of people who have been vocal about this issue for a long time,” Reeves said. “My position has not changed. I spent much of 2019 telling the people of this state what I believe is there is going to come a time at some point I’m sure, when the people of Mississippi are going to want to change the flag. My position is, when they want to do that, it should be the people that make that decision, not some backroom deal by a bunch of politicians in Jackson.”
The move comes amid a national conversation about racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody after a white officer knelt on the back of his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Roughly 3,000 Black Lives Matter protesters marched in the state capitol of Jackson on Saturday, Mississippi Today reported. The crowd repeatedly chanted “Change the flag!”
Several states have begun removing imagery and statues related to the Confederacy.
The U.S. military is also working to distance itself from the controversial symbol.
The U.S. Marines on Friday announced that it would be removing all public displays of the Confederate flags, saying it has “all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps.”
“Current events are a stark reminder that it is not enough for us to remove symbols that cause division — rather, we also must strive to eliminate division itself,” the commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David H. Berger, said in a statement.
The Army also said that Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back Former defense secretary Esper sues Pentagon in memoir dispute Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Major Russia weapons test stokes tensions MORE and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyOvernight Defense & National Security — Preparing for the Biden-Putin call Former DC National Guard official accuses generals of lying about Capitol riot Former DC Guard commander calls for retraction of Pentagon watchdog's Jan. 6 report MORE are open to renaming the 10 Army bases that are named after Confederate leaders.