South Carolina

SC House, Senate adopts Confederate flag amendment

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley calls for legislators to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the State House during a press conference on Monday, June 22, 2015, in Columbia, S.C.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley calls for legislators to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the State House during a press conference on Monday, June 22, 2015, in Columbia, S.C. The State

The S.C. House of Representatives has adopted a motion to debate taking down the Confederate flag.

The House adopted the measure by a 103-10 vote when it reconvened Tuesday, the first meeting of the House since last week’s shooting in Charleston that took the lives of nine people at an historic black church, including S.C. Sen. Clementa Pinckney.

The motion allows the House to consider removing the flag this summer, when the Legislature is meeting on budget issues, rather than wait for a new session to convene in January.

“This is just the beginning of the debate process,” said House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Hartsville. “When we consider this amendment, I hope we can be respectful of those who lost their lives.”

Later Tuesday, the Senate adopted a similar amendment by voice vote, allowing both chambers to debate the flag without the need for a new session.

Despite Gov. Nikki Haley’s announcement Monday that she would call the Legislature back into session if they did not take up the flag issue, Lucas told the House chamber he doesn’t believe the governor has the authority to call the House back into session on the issue. But the motion passed Tuesday allows Lucas to call the House back to consider the issue this summer.

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