Lawmakers face pressure to change Mississippi state flag

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Momentum is building to change Mississippi’s state flag as the legislative session is winding down at the State Capitol.

With Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn appearing to now be on the same page, the flag could soon come down.

Amid pressure, Hosemann is changing his tune and calling on the legislature to vote on the flag. He issued a statement regarding his position before he met with university presidents from around the state.

“Take legislative action to change our state flag. It’s past time to do this. I feel like it’s important for our state, our future, for our state economy, for our young students. We are educating our future leaders to give them a chance for a brighter future in this great state that we dearly love,” said Mississippi State University President, Mark Keenum.

Hosemann told 12 News previously that he did not believe the legislature would be able to take up a flag bill this late in the session.

“I have been reticent about saying where anybody was, but one of the things we knew was slowing up the process is the Lt. Governor getting on board with where we are. But he’s always been for a change. But his proposals, I didn’t necessarily agree with, but now we’re all on the same page, and so I’m encouraged. We’re very close to doing something meaningful,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Robert Johnson.

Senator David Jordan said he is hopeful now that Hosemann is open to the possibility of changing the flag.

“I’m hopeful that since he’s changed his mind, I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to vote on it so our state could move forward together.”

Speaker Philip Gunn has called for the removal of the state flag since 2015, citing his religious beliefs.

Johnson said they are one or two people away from getting the necessary votes to move legislation.

Governor Tate Reeves maintains that the decision to change the flag belongs at the ballot box.

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