MS bill: Fly the state flag or face penalties

MS bill: Fly the state flag or face penalties
Mississippi state flag. Source: WDAM

MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - Flying the state flag in Mississippi will be up for discussion again this legislative session.

Sen. Joseph Seymour (R-Vancleave) filed SB20157 last week, regarding flying the state flag.

The bill would require governments or state colleges to display the official state flag on a Monday through Friday of each week.

If the administrative head does not fly the flag, the state will withhold 25 percent of his or her monthly salary until compliance.

Seymour said it is not about the design of the flag, but the taxpayers vote to want the flag flown across Mississippi.

"I don't care if it's a burlap sack or a diaper, you know what I mean?" Seymour said. "The construction of the flag is not at what the issue is here."

In 2001, 65 percent of Mississippians voted to keep the confederate emblem on the flag.

In June 2015, the deadly shooting of nine parishioners at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, sparked controversy across the country.

Authorities said evidence used in court showed now convicted murderer Dylann Roof targeted Emanuel AME Church in a racially-motivated attack.

The state of South Carolina removed the flag from capitol grounds in October 2015.

This is when University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett removed the flag from campus, replacing it with an American flag.

Seymour said the entities, funded by tax dollars, are going against the tax payer by not flying the flag.

Seymour said it is not up to a leader to use his or her power to promote their own ideas.

"It was voted on by the citizens of the state of Mississippi to be flown, and for a chancellor or a city to take it upon themselves to go against what the legislature and people have spoken," Seymour said. "You can't go against who is footing the bill and they are going against the citizens of the state of Mississippi."

WDAM 7 News reached out to USM President Rodney Bennett.  A spokesperson for his office said President Bennett still stands on his decision to remove the flag.

WDAM 7 News also reached out to Gov. Phil Bryant for his opinion on the filed bill.

Here is a statement from his office:

"Gov. Bryant believes all political subdivisions of the state should fly the state flag.  If the legislation reaches his desk, he will thoroughly review it before making a decision."