June 22, 2015

Taking the flag down is a good first step. Denouncing its message would be a nice way to follow up! But of course, that is most unlikely:

Gov. Nikki Haley will hold a news conference in Columbia at 4 p.m. today at which, sources said, she will call for the Confederate flag to come down from the Statehouse grounds.

The move comes as lawmakers are exploring if the removal can be done legislatively in the coming days, tying their heightened attention to the recent shooting deaths of nine members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Haley’s office would not confirm what the discussion would be.

Lawmakers have an unfinished budget, but are considering using the current extended session to address wording that would remove the flag from the Confederate monument as part of the 2015-16 state spending plan.

Another avenue being explored is adding wording that would include legislation to remove the flag in the continuing work resolution.

The flag was removed from the Statehouse dome and from inside the two chambers in 2000 as part of a compromise that put it on permanent display next the Confederate soldier’s monument. It would take a vote of two-thirds of both houses to remove it as the law was written.

House Speaker Jay Lucas issued a statement today saying “the intense and difficult debate that took place in 2000 over the Confederate soldier flag was ultimately resolved by compromise. Wednesday’s unspeakable tragedy has reignited a discussion on this sensitive issue that holds a long and complicated history in the Palmetto State. Moving South Carolina forward from this terrible tragedy requires a swift resolution of this issue.”

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