Legislative leaders say they're still short of necessary votes to change state flag

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Legislative leaders met Monday to discuss how to change the state flag, but say they still don't have the votes to do it at the Capitol.
Legislative leaders believe they still do not have the necessary votes to change the state flag, which features the Confederate battle emblem, after multiple closed-door meetings held Monday in efforts to develop a politically palatable and feasible way to address the issue.

As calls to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the Mississippi state flag intensify, lawmakers have discussed whether to change the flag that was adopted in 1894.

Two trial balloons floated over the weekend — having two separate official state flags and/or letting voters decide the fate of the flag — have drawn major opposition from both the public and many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The biggest hurdle leaders face is that any change to the flag or putting it on a ballot this late in the legislative session would require a two-thirds vote of the both the 122-member House and 52-member Senate to suspend its rules.

Late Monday afternoon, House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann met for almost an hour in the lieutenant governor's office where various issues, including the flag, were addressed related to trying to end the session by Friday as planned.

"I have been for changing it. I am still trying to find a path to make that happen," Gunn said at the conclusion of his meeting with Hosemann.

Lawmakers in both chambers and in both parties on Monday backed away from the notion of adopting a second official state flag.

"I don't think the two-flag solution is a viable option," Gunn said on Monday.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves in a statement Monday also panned the two-flag proposal as the "Separate but Equal flag option" and said: "I don't think it's a viable alternative." Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann on Monday said: "We're discussing a lot of options and getting a feel for the members of the Senate."

Before and after Monday's meeting with Gunn, Hosemann met with multiple Senate Democrats – most of whom have publicly opposed both a referendum to change…
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