JACKSON, MS (WMC) - The Mississippi state legislature seems poised to take up the state flag as several new bills filed in the first weeks of January focus on its redesign.
Mississippi is the last state in the country whose flag still bears the Confederate Battle flag.
Four bills similarly seek to establish a commission to redesign the flag.
- House Bill 313, filed by Rep. Bryant Clark, would establish a commission to create two options for the legislature to choose from during the 2020 session.
- House Bill 248, filed by Rep. John Hines Sr., would have a commission develop, design and report a new design to the governor and legislature by Jan. 1, 2020.
- House Bill 15, filed by Rep. Debra Gibbs, would establish a commission to redesign the flag and give a recommendation to the governor, lieutenant governor and house speaker by Jan. 1, 2020.
- House Bill 218, filed by Rep. Orlando Paden, would create a commission that would then solicit designs from public universities or junior colleges for consideration.
Hines filed a second bill, House Bill 433, that would let the people decide on whether to change the flag by way of a statewide special election in November 2019.
With House Bill 18, Rep. David Baria presented a design featuring a large blue star, 19 smaller stars and red and white panels.
House Bill 561, filed by Rep. Kathy Sykes, would feature a large blue star on a white field encircled by 19 similar stars and flanked by red bands. The Washington Post reports Sykes filed the bill on behalf of Laurin Stennis whose father served in the state legislature and whose grandfather was a member of the U.S. Senate.
In 2001, Mississippi voters decided to keep the current flag. Then in 2015, an online petition to change the state flag received more than 5,000 signatures.