Supporters who want Mississippi's confederate emblem removed from the state flag are mounting a campaign to bring the issue to a vote. Initiative 55, The Flag for all Mississippians could be on the ballot in 2018. In 2001, a majority of Mississippians voted to keep the flag. But Republican House Representative Randy Boyd says it may be time to put it on the ballot.
"I think that's what probably needs to be done, if enough people call for it. I have no problem with it. I'm not attached to the flag either way, but I do want the people of Mississippi to give their voice," said Boyd.
Boyd doesn't think it's the job of the legislature to change the flag. Mississippi College School of Law Professor Matt Steffey says the issue has gained momentum because of the Charleston Nine shootings and it's not going away. Those who oppose taking the confederate emblem off the state flag are sponsoring Initiative 54, but it will likely die. Supporters disagree with the changes Attorney General Jim Hood made to wording that would appear on the ballot. They plan to re-file. Steffey says lawmakers will likely address the issue in 2016.
"It is easy to see how the legislature might take it up as early as 2016. Particularly after the hum bum of the election cycle is over. I think that is an ideal time," said Steffey.
Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn has previously come out in support of changing the state flag. The governor's office did not respond to a request for comment about the latest Initiative 55. In the past, Governor Phil Bryant has said he stands by the 2001 vote.