By Adam Ganucheau
A bipartisan group of Mississippi lawmakers, with the blessing of Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, began whipping votes and drafting a resolution on Monday to change the state flag, which was adopted in 1894 and is the last in the nation containing the Confederate battle emblem.
The conversation behind closed doors this week marks one of the first earnest legislative discussions about changing the state flag since the 2001 referendum in which Mississippians voted nearly 2-to-1 to keep the current flag. It also comes as tens of thousands of black Mississippians and their multi-racial allies march the streets to protest racial inequalities in government.
About a dozen Republicans and Democrats in the House met privately on Monday afternoon to discuss changing the flag. Later in the afternoon, representatives of that bipartisan group met with Gunn to gauge his interest in helping their efforts, according to several sources with direct knowledge of the meeting.
Gunn, who has publicly advocated for changing the flag in years past, told the lawmakers he would support a suspension resolution that would adopt a new state flag. The resolution, which House attorneys began drafting Monday afternoon, would replace the current state flag with the Stennis Flag, a design that has blossomed in popularity across the state in recent years.
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