When South Carolina’s state Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure this week to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds, it was an important breakthrough, but it was also seen as one of the easier steps in the process. The Post and Courier newspaper has maintained a head-count on the measure, and success in the state Senate seemed assured.
The state House, however, was expected to pose a greater challenge for those hoping to see the state move forward. It made the chamber’s vote, held early this morning, that much more satisfying.
The South Carolina House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly early Thursday to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds.The final vote of 94-20 after some 13 hours of contentious debate is a stunning turn for the state that was the first to leave the Union and the site of the first shots in the Civil War.
Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who initiated the process and spoke to state House Republicans yesterday morning, hailed the vote as “a new day” for her South Carolina. She added in a written statement that this is “a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state.”
So, what’s next? And how soon can the flag be removed?
The Post and Courier reported this morning that there are some additional, procedural steps: “The bill still has to be ratified before it can be sent to Haley’s desk. And Haley has five days to sign it to have it become law.”
That said, everyone involved in the process believes these procedural hurdles will be cleared rather easily, and the flag will come down, possibly as early as tomorrow.
While we wait, it’s worth appreciating just how emotional the lengthy debate was yesterday on the floor of the state House. If you missed Rachel’s segment last night, take a couple of minutes to watch this, and pay particular attention to the impassioned plea from Republican state Rep. Jenny Horne, urging her colleagues to do the right thing.