How South Carolina Could Bring Down Its Confederate Flag

July 6th 2015

Sarah Gray

This week, the South Carolina legislature is poised to vote on whether South Carolina will removed the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds. Lawmakers returned on Monday for a special session, where there was overwhelming support to reconvene and debate the removal of the controversial symbol. The South Carolina State Senate is currently debating whether to remove the battle flag from the Confederate soldier memorial on the capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina. (You can watch the debate on C-SPAN.)

"[The flag] doesn't represent all the people in South Carolina, and we need to remember that," Senator Larry A. Martin (R) said during debate on Monday.

The debate follows calls to remove the flag after a white 21-year-old gunman shot and killed three Black men and six Black women -- including State Sen. Clementa Pinckney -- at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17. On the Monday after the tragic shooting, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called for the removal of the flag, which represents a past of bigotry, separation, and a history of slavery.

“It’s time to move the flag from the capitol grounds,” Haley said June 22.

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The actual removal of the flag -- which activist Bree Newsome so daringly took down at the end of June, before getting arrested -- is not an easy legislative process. Due to a 2000 resolution -- which moved the flag from the capitol dome to its current place -- a super-majority (or two-thirds majority) vote is needed to remove the flag from the capitol grounds.

There will also be other legislative hoops to navigate, including whether to remove the flag poll entirely, and if not, what to fly over the Confederate soldier memorial in place of the battle flag. If the bill to remove the flag passes, which it is likely to, there will also be the question of when and how to remove the flag, along with where to place it, the Post and Courier reports. Some, including Gov. Haley, have called for it to be placed in a museum. "Two proposals to remove the flag would send it to the state Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum," the AP reports. "A third simply takes it down. Some legislators are looking for an alternative."

Following the vote in the State Senate, it will go to the State House of Representatives.

Other states have also taken action to remove the Confederate flag or other Confederate symbols from government grounds or state government-issued license plates. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley removed its four flags from the Capitol grounds last week.

"It's so important that we present an image in Alabama that things are different today than they were in 1963," Gov. Bentley said in an interview with the AP.

ATTN: broke down which states are still compiling Confederate memorabilia.

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