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Rep. Masterson co-authors bill to keep flag

[01/04/01] Rep. Chester Masterson, R-Vicksburg, is one of 37 legislators who has signed on as a co-author of bills to keep the state’s traditional 106-year-old flag.

“I think that if we change the flag there will just be another situation that we will be fighting over next,” the second-year lawmaker said Wednesday.

House Bill 14 would make the embattled flag and state coat-of-arms the official symbols of the State of Mississippi. A second bill, House Concurrent Resolution 9, would ask voters to amend the state Constitution to make the banner the official state flag.

“I think the flag should be made official because it is our heritage,” Masterson said.

The laws would reverse a state Supreme Court ruling that Mississippi has no official flag because in 1906 a legal oversight resulted in the repeal of the law creating it.

They compete with the plan of Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and the 17-member Flag Commission he created for a year’s study. That panel’s work is likely to result on a statewide up or down vote on a new banner.

In signing off on the bill, Masterson joined Reps. Jeb Barbour, Yazoo City; Larry Baker, Senatobia; Les Barnett, D’Iberville; Tom Cameron, Greenville; Gary Chism, Cleveland; Jamie Creel, Biloxi; Mike Eakes, Philadelphia Jim Ellington, Jackson; Joey Fillingane, Sumrall; Mark Formby, Picayune; Tommy Horne, Meridian; Bobby Howell, Kilmichael; Roger Ishee, Gulfport; Michael Janus, Biloxi; Andrew Ketchings, Natchez; Mike Lott, Petal; Rita Martinson, Madison; Pat Montgomery, Pontotoc; Keith Montgomery, Clinton; John Moore, Brandon; O.K. Moore, Columbia; Clem Nettles, Jayess; Billy Nicholson, Union; John Read, Gautier; Eric Robinson, Quitman; Ray Rogers, Pearl; Clint Rotenberry, Mendenhall; Zachary Rushing, Tylertown; James Simpson, Long Beach; Charles Smith, Eupora; Jeffery Smith, Columbus; Greg Snowden, Meridian; Greg Ward, Ripley; Tom Weathersby, Florence; Carmen Wells-Smith, Pascagoula, and Henry Zuber, Ocean Springs.