State flag, lottery amendments killed for now

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Mississippi State Capitol

State flag and lottery amendments failed once more on the floor of the Mississippi House Tuesday morning.

Representatives voted to table an amendment to Senate Bill 2281, a bond bill for the Institutes of Higher Learning.

Rep. William Shirley, R-Quitman, authored the amendment, which said “Before any funds may be disbursed to an institution of higher learning for the purposes described in this paragraph, the institution shall prominently display and fly the state flag each day of the year.”

Shirley tried to get the amendment passed last Thursday, but a point of order was made and the bill was held for consideration. On Tuesday, House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, said the point of order was not well taken, meaning the House needed to vote on the amendment.

A representative introduced a motion to table Shirley’s amendment.

Shirley opposed the motion, urging his colleagues to vote against it and “take a stand for the symbol of this state that the people of this state voted for by two-thirds margin.”

The motion to table passed on a voice vote, effectively killing the amendment. Two other attempts by Shirley to attach similar amendments to Institutions of Higher Learning bills failed on Monday.

Also on Tuesday, the House voted against a lottery amendment to Senate Bill 2986, an appropriations bill for the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

Gil Ford Photography

Rep. Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson

Rep. Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson, introduced the amendment on Monday. It stated that “no funds appropriated under this act may be expended unless there is an established state lottery by the Mississippi Gaming Commission.”

Clarke was not present when the bill was brought up, but Rep. John Hines, D-Greenville spoke out in favor, saying Clarke has for years offered a lottery amendment as a symbolic token of education funding for Mississippi.

“I would hate for us to disregard her sincere passion for the education of kids in this state as we begin to process through the deliberations of our budget,” Hines said.

Hines urging did not sway his colleagues — the amendment was tabled on a voice vote.