Mississippi state flag: Legislative proposal for two state banners

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - A top Mississippi lawmaker is renewing his efforts to address the state flag controversy. This comes as members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus are requesting for the governor to call a special session to address the flag. The second in command in the state house says he's already sought to prefile legislation to address these concerns.

"I have already asked for that bill to be prefiled," says Mississippi House Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden from Meridian. He's talking about legislation for lawmakers to adopt an alternate flag for the state.

"That way you would not be changing the flag per say, and you would still allow people to have a voice," says Snowden.

His proposal is for the Magnolia Flag to serve as an alternate to the current state flag. From 1861 to 1865 it served as the first state flag for Mississippi. If approved, Snowden's proposal would essentially allow the state to have two state flags.

"We could adopt that as a flag of equal status and dignity and allow community or state agencies to fly which one they would prefer," says Snowden.

Over the past two years the District 83 Representative says he's presented similar legislation, which has received very little support.

"The flag will change because people in their hearts realize that it does offend some people, whether it offends them or not, and that it's not the best positive message for our state. It can still be used, revered and displayed. It just doesn't have to be our official state flag," says Snowden.

Unless a special session is called by the governor, the next time the state legislature is set to convene is in January.

A spokesperson for Governor Phil Bryant says the governor believes voters should decide the design for the state flag. Mississippians previously voted on whether to change the state flag 16 years ago. At that time residents voted by a two-to-one margin to keep the current flag. During the vote 18 of the state's 82 counties voted to change it.