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Of all the actions taken by lawmakers in 2020, none was more unexpected than the Mississippi Legislature's rapid and bipartisan vote to retire the state's official flag and it's prominent Confederate battle emblem.

Mississippi Highway Patrol officers furl the state flag outside of the Capitol in Jackson on July 1, 2020. Credit: Eric J. Shelton/Mississippi Today"The thought was that, as in most sessions dating back to 1988, bills would be filed to change the banner, which prominently displays the Confederate battle emblem in its design, but those proposals would suffer a quiet death on deadline day when committee chairs opted not to call them up for consideration," Bobby Harrison writes in a story for State Legislatures magazine.

However, spurred by the national outcry over the killing of George Floyd, the legislature mustered the necessary two-third vote to suspend the rules and take up the bill to jettison the flag.

“Quite frankly, I did not think we could get the two-thirds vote,” said Representative Bryant Clark (D). “I thought there were the votes to come back and do it in January [when it would require only a simple majority] but that part surprised me.”

Read the full story now.  

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.