Mississippi lawmakers vote to remove Confederate battle emblem from state flag

EMPPhotography/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(JACKSON, Miss.) — The Mississippi state legislature has voted to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.

The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Tate Reeves’s desk.

On Saturday, Reeves said he would sign the bill if the legislature passed it. That afternoon, the state House and state Senate passed measures allowing for a vote on changing the flag.

On Sunday afternoon, the state House voted 91-23 to remove the emblem. The state Senate passed the bill in a 37-14 vote.

ABC News has asked the governor’s office when the signing will take place.

The Confederate “stars and bars” has been part of Mississippi’s flag since 1894. It’s the last state flag that still displays the emblem, which is widely considered racist due in part to its ties to slavery and use by white supremacy groups.

The Mississippi House Rules Committee has recommended that a flag commission be established to present a flag option to voters in November. A new flag is not allowed to include a Confederate symbol and must include the words “In God We Trust.”

Across the country, symbols of the Confederacy are being contested amid calls for racial justice following the death of George Floyd while in police custody last month. Earlier this month, NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its events. Monuments to Confederate generals are also coming down in cities and towns across the country.

Former Vice President Joe Biden reacted to the Mississippi legislature’s vote late Sunday.

“The arc of the moral universe bent a little bit more today,” Biden tweeted Sunday evening, referencing Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote from a 1968 speech.

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