JACKSON, MISS– There’s a bill in the state house that could reduce the controversial and complicated question of the state flag to a simple “check yes or no” on the ballot.
Right now, the bill is still in the committee, and there’s no guarantee it’ll even make it to the house floor.
“Now, it could die in committee, depending on the chairman,” says Representative John Hines, who wrote the bill. He says it is time to put parties aside and look ahead from the history of the flag.
“It’s not about being liberal, or conservatism,” says Hines, “it’s about being progressive enough to move forward.”
Hines says that he believes in the historical value of the flag, and that’s why it should be in a museum. But the history, to him, isn’t just about the war.
“The rebel flag–the white hood,” says Hines.
But the representative points out that it isn’t just about the history of the flag and what should represent Mississippi. The flag speaks for the state, and may not be making the best impression.
“Don’t you think it’s interesting that Ole Miss, Mississippi State, have been in the top 20 in sports and we’ve never had a bowl game? That Auburn and Jackson State have been SWAC champs and we’ve not had a championship game here?” Hines says, “when they’ve talked about relocating the championships or bowl games, Mississippi was never mentioned because of the flag.”
If the bill passes committee, the house, and the senate, then the question of the state flag would appear on the ballot as follows:
“Please Vote “Yes” or “No” : The Confederate Battle Flag emblem shall be removed from the Official State Flag.”
You would simply check “yes” or “no.”
If the vote indicates that the flag should change, then a commission would be drafted that would come up with a new flag design.
If the bill survives the house and senate, you’ll be checking the ballot to either keep or ditch the current state flag on November 8th.