On the first day of the 2021 Legislative Session, the Mississippi House of Representatives voted 119-1 to formally adopt the new state flag approved by voters in November. The measure will now move to the state Senate for a vote.
The new flag, approved by Mississippi voters in the November 2020 election, features a magnolia flower and the words “In God We Trust” instead of the Confederate battle emblem.
Rep. Dan Eubanks, a DeSoto County legislator, voted “present.” The other six legislators representing DeSoto County voted “yes.”
Rep. Steve Horne, who represents parts of Lauderdale County and Clarke County, was the only legislator to vote against ratifying the new flag. Rep. Brady Williamson, who represents Lafayette County, declined to vote.
The bill to ratify the new flag now goes to the Senate, where it is all but certain to pass by similar margins. It may be Wednesday before the issue is taken up on the Senate floor.
The Mississippi Legislature removed the old flag in June of 2020, the last in the nation to feature the Confederate battle emblem. The flag had flown for over 126 years when it was removed, and Mississippi has been left without an official flag since then.
Lawmakers faced growing pressure from community leaders to remove the divisive symbol from the state’s flag. Opponent’s of the flag saw it as state-sanctioned glorification of racism in Mississippi’s history in the state with the largest number of Black residents per capita.
A state flag commission reviewed nearly 3,000 public submissions for a new flag design earlier this year and combined multiple submissions into the “In God We Trust” flag in September. This design was approved by over 73% of voters in November. In DeSoto County, nearly 75% of voters approved the measure.