JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi House on Monday halted a push to require that universities fly the state's Confederate-themed flag.
Republican Rep. William Shirley of Quitman persuaded the House last week to withhold a tax break from universities that don't fly the flag. But a committee chairman pledged to kill the bill by not bringing it up for a vote. So, Quitman tried again on Monday: He attached his proposal to not one, but two higher-education budget bills.
"Whatever it is — pink, polka-dotted elephants, I don't care — but if they are getting tax money they should fly the flag of the state," Shirley said.
The House narrowly rejected his efforts, once by shouting it down and the second time by a 58-56 vote. No other members rose to speak in support of Shirley's proposal.
All eight of Mississippi's public universities have stopped flying the flag, which prominently features the Confederate battle emblem. That has angered supporters of the banner.