Confederate-themed state flag divides Mississippi lawmakers

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — In Mississippi, the last state to display the Confederate battle emblem on its flag, some lawmakers want the divisive symbol removed, others want to punish public institutions that refuse to fly the banner and a state House leader suggests having two separate but equal flags: one with the rebel cross and one without.

Confederate symbols have been under scrutiny across the South since last June, when nine black worshippers were massacred at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Several bills in Mississippi propose replacing the rebel emblem with stars or a magnolia. Others would strip state funding from universities or local governments that refuse to fly the flag the state has used since 1894.

Republican House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden proposes having two state flags with equal status.