Panel OKs erasing Confederate flag from Senate seal
The Senate seal on the glass front of the new documents and copy center in the Capitol. Photo: Jim Rosica

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The Florida Senate’s Rules Committee on Thursday unanimously recommended removing a Confederate flag from the chamber’s official seal and replacing it with the state flag.

Senators on the panel voted for the move 9-0.

The matter now goes before the full Senate, which could consider it in the beginning of the 2016 Legislative Session in January. The change will require a two-thirds vote of the chamber.

As reported earlier, the Senate is reviewing its seal after a renewed debate about Confederate symbols, including the battle flag ubiquitous in the South.

The gunman who killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, in June, had photographed himself holding the flag and made clear he was motivated by racism.

Legislators there later voted to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds.

Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner, who moved for the change, said she first asked Senate President Andy Gardiner to consider revising the seal shortly after the South Carolina shooting.

Joyner, of Tampa, also said she did not immediately know how much the move would cost. Letterhead, business cards, lapel pins and a bevy of other items will have to be replaced.

“Change is expensive sometimes,” she said.

But Joyner said the flag represented a too-sad part of the state’s and American history.

“For a lot of folks, this is reminiscent of a lot of pain,” she said.

Rules chair David Simmons, an Altamonte Springs Republican, earlier had cited U.S. Supreme Court decisions defending the change, saying only flags of “legitimate sovereignties” should be recognized.

State Sen. Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat, addressed concerns that the change would amount to historical revisionism.

“We can’t revise history … but we can choose what we highlight in our seal,” he said.

 

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.


One comment

  • Gordon

    October 27, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Pure unadulterated racism against Confederate-Americans.

Comments are closed.


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