By Alyssa Schnugg
Lafayette County representatives were all among the “Aye” votes Sunday to remove the Confederate emblem from the Mississippi state flag.
The House voted 91-23 to approve the bill, and then the state Senate approved the bill with a 37-14 vote to change the flag that has flown over the state since 1894.
Lafayette County’s House reps – John Faulkner, District 5; Trey Lamar, District 8; Brady Williamson, District 10; Clay DeWeese, District 12; Steve Massengill, District 13; and Jim Beckett, District 23, all voted in favor of the bill that establishes a commission to develop a new design for the flag, without the Confederate battle emblem, but will include “In God, We Trust.”
In November, Mississippi residents will vote on a new design.
District 9 Senator Nicole Boyd, who represents Lafayette County, also voted “aye” in support of the bill.
Shortly after the vote in Jackson, the state flags were removed from in front of the Lafayette County Courthouse and the Lafayette County Chancery Building, both located on the Square in Oxford. The city of Oxford took down the state flag from all city buildings, including City Hall, in 2015.
Discussions to change the state flag were brought up recently in the midst of nationwide protests against racial injustice.
Earlier this month, the SEC and the NCAA released statements that championship events may not be played in states where the Confederate flag has a prominent presence.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement Sunday commending the Mississippi Legislature after the bill was passed.
“I am proud of our universities’ leadership, and the engagement of student-athletes and coaches in the efforts to change the State of Mississippi flag,” Sankey said. “The agreement to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the flag is a positive and appropriate action, and I applaud the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate for today’s action. I am also grateful for Governor Reeves’ openness to sign a bill to change the flag. As I have frequently said, our students deserve the opportunity to learn and compete in welcoming environments. Today’s action is welcomed in the spirit of this goal.”
University of Mississippi Athletics Director Keith Carter also released a statement in support of the Legislature’s decision, calling Sunday a “great day to be a Mississippian.”
Sports editor Adam Brown contributed to this story