Process to change state flag could happen multiple ways

Published 1:00 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Since the June 17, shooting in Charleston, S.C., where nine black lives were taken, a national debate surrounding the Confederate flag has broken out, with many looking at the state of Mississippi, whose state flag features a nod to the confederacy in the upper left hand corner.

While some are pushing for the flag to be changed, others believe the state should stick by the popular vote held on the issue in 2001.

Vicksburg’s state officials are included among those split on the issue.

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State Rep. Oscar Denton said to change the state flag, legislative action would need to be taken.

“It would have to be a vote it would require a 2/3 vote of the legislature,” he said. “We’ll be out of session until January, so it won’t be until January of next year.”

Denton said the governor has already announced he would not be calling a special session for the flag.

“I think we’ll just try to handle it with the legislature, not a vote by the people,” he said. “I think that will be the first step.”

Denton said he has no doubt the issue will be brought up in the upcoming legislative session.

“I think it’s a decisive issue,” he said. “I think it needs to be redesigned to give us a better image of the state as a whole.”

State Rep. Alex Monsour said there are a couple of ways the flag could be changed, but only one right way in his opinion, pointing to the popular vote that took place on the flag in 2001.

“They should go out with a petition, collect the signatures and do it that way,” he said. “That’s the proper way they should do it. The people pretty much have spoken on the issue.”

Monsour said he knows where he stands on the issue.

“I represent the people on their vote,” he said. “If they vote to change it I’ll stand by their vote, but right now they’ve chosen to stand by their flag. Where I’m at right now, I’m standing with the people who have already voted on it.”

The issue could be taken up in legislature, but Monsour said he’s opposed to that option.

“It is the people who ultimately decide,” he said. “It’s been spoken on by the people. We should stand by it.”

State Sen. Briggs Hopson III said whether the issue is taken up legislatively or via a statewide referendum probably won’t know until the legislature convenes again.

“I think it’s something we will be discussing and it’s something worthy of discussing, but it’s premature right now,” he said.