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Bill Could Cost Miss. Universities Funding, if State Flag Not Flying
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Republican Rep. William Shirley, Clarke Co.
Associated Press

A bill passed by legislators in the House could force Mississippi universities to fly the state flag with the confederate emblem or lose funding. The bill passed by one vote.

House Members are reviewing Senate Bill 2509. It would make new dormitories built at Mississippi universities tax exempt. House Republican William Shirley of Clarke County, has introduced an amendment that would make flying the state flag a requirement to receive funding. Representative Shirley.

"We're going to keep rocking this baby until we get it done. As long as I'm here we're going to keep seeing this amendment til we decide whether we're going to fly a flag at state institutions that people are getting state dollars for or not fly a flag. So it's up to ya'll," said Shirley.

In a debate over the issue, Democrat Ed Blackmon of Madison County, says the state flag shouldn't be a apart of discussing the bill.

"It's an emotional issue that ought not enter into the political axis here in this chamber because of that. Why would you touch the nerves of so many people and rub it in, just because you believe you can," said Blackmon.

Republican Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden, of Lauderdale County doesn't support it either. 

"I'm opposed. I think this is the wrong approach. The original amendment is the wrong approach. One I cannot support. One a majority of the House did not support when it was brought up," said Snowden. 

Democrat Steve Holland of Tupelo likes the state flag, but doesn't agree with Shirley's amendment. 

"It's sort of offends me that we've got to stand here and worry about which flag any of our universities fly. You oughta worry about the engineering department at Mississippi State, if it's funded enough and the ag program at Alcorn. You can go on and on," said Holland.

House members voted 57 to 56 to pass the bill. The measure now goes to the Senate and then to conference for further debate.