Governor to sign bill to remove Confederate emblem from state flag in 'coming days'

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is set to sign a bill to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag "in the coming days," his office told ABC News on Monday.

The Mississippi state legislature voted to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag on Sunday, sending it to Reeves' desk.

The Mississippi House of Representatives' docket room confirmed that the bill was sent to his desk Monday morning. Reeves' office said he will sign it once he's had the opportunity to review the final bill.

On Saturday, Reeves had said he would sign the bill if the legislature passed it. That afternoon, the state House and state Senate passed measures allowing for a vote on changing the flag.

On Sunday afternoon, the state House voted 91-23 to remove the emblem. The state Senate passed the bill in a 37-14 vote.

The Confederate "stars and bars" has been part of Mississippi's flag since 1894. It's the last state flag that still displays the emblem, which is widely considered racist due in part to its ties to slavery and use by white supremacy groups.

According to the text of the bill, the state Department of Archives and History has to develop a plan for the "dignified and respectful removal of the former official Mississippi State Flag." That must take place no later than 15 days from when the bill is signed or made effective.

A nine-member commission will be established to present a new state flag option by Sept. 14, and the public will vote on it on Nov. 3. The new flag is not allowed to include a Confederate emblem and must include the words "In God We Trust."

Across the country, symbols of the Confederacy are being contested amid calls for racial justice following the death of George Floyd while in police custody last month. Earlier this month, NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its events. Monuments to Confederate generals are also coming down in cities and towns across the country.

Former Vice President Joe Biden reacted to the Mississippi legislature's vote late Sunday.

"The arc of the moral universe bent a little bit more today," Biden tweeted Sunday evening, referencing Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote from a 1968 speech.

ABC News' Joshua Hoyos, Carena Liptak, John Verhovek and Jason Volack contributed to this report.
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