When Dylann Roof allegedly shot nine black churchgoers at a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the national discourse over the Confederate flag was brought to the forefront. Roof often posed for photos with the flag and several states and cities chose to bring down their stars and bars, claiming it was a symbol of racism that persists today.
However, Mississippi has decided not to change their flag, which features the Confederate symbol, the Associated Press reported. The deadline to change the flag was Feb. 23 and legislators were deadlocked over what to do about the emblem, with several competing bills offered up to lawmakers.
Some of the proposals included taking money from colleges and city governments that wouldn’t fly the flag as is, but most were focused on the flag itself. One bill opted to create a separate flag featuring a magnolia tree honoring the state’s official tree, and others proposed removing the Confederate flag altogether.
Mississippi’s House Speaker, Republican Rep. Philip Gunn, said he still believes the Confederate symbol should be removed from Mississippi’s current flag. “I have explored every option from taking legislative action to change the flag to adopting two official flags, but we cannot get a consensus on how to address the issue,” he said in a statement to The Clarion-Ledger. “I will continue to stand by my view that changing the flag is the right thing to do. The flag is going to change.”
Republican Rep. Jason White, chairman of the House committee in charge of the flag bills, said the measure was simply impossible to debate and vote on during this legislative session. "I'm not saying that all of them are necessarily bad ideas, but we don't have a consensus on any of them,” he said.
Gunn said he was “disappointed” that the 122-year-old flag design would still fly. “ We can deal with it now or leave for future generations to address,” he said. “I believe our state needs to address it now.”