A protester waves the current Mississippi state flag as he sits in front of the Capitol on Saturday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Editor’s note: This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day Sunday.

The House and Senate will begin working on Sunday to remove the Mississippi state flag, which has flown since 1894 and is the last in the nation containing the Confederate battle emblem.

The House of Representatives voted 91-23 to remove the flag. It now moves to the Senate for consideration. Legislative leaders hope the bill will be passed in both chambers by the end of business on Sunday.

Gov. Tate Reeves, who has been careful not to take a hard position on changing the state flag, said he would sign any bill lawmakers send his way.

The bill, authored by House Speaker Philip Gunn, stipulates that the current flag would be immediately removed and a nine-person commission would be created to redesign the state flag. The commission would recommend a new design by Sept. 14, and voters would approve or reject that design on Nov. 3.

The design “would not include the Confederate battle flag but shall include the words ‘In God We Trust’.” Should voters reject that design, the commission would present a new option during the 2021 legislative session, according to the resolution.

Gov. Tate Reeves, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and Speaker Philip Gunn would appoint three people each to the commission. The governor’s three appointees must be a representative from the Mississippi Economic Council, the Mississippi Arts Commission, and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. There are no specific commission appointment requirements for the lieutenant governor or speaker.

The exact details of the bill are subject to change during the legislative process on Sunday. At any point, the bill could be amended to change the process of replacing the flag or even forcing a vote on whether to keep the current flag.

But based on Saturday’s vote on the rules suspension resolution, it appears House and Senate leaders have the votes to ensure the demise of the current flag that has been flying since 1894.

The vote on the controversial issue at this late date in the session is notable. Garnering a two-thirds vote to suspend rules for any reason is difficult, but particularly on the long-contentious state flag issue.

For years, supporters of changing the flag have not been able to garner the simple majority needed to change the controversial banner through the normal legislative process. But the violent death of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests that reached Mississippi and shined new light on the state flag that many view as racist.

And in recent weeks, immense pressure mounted from religious, business, civic, university, sports and other leaders to remove the Confederate emblem from the flag. A growing list of businesses, cities, counties and other groups have either stopped flying the flag or asked leaders to change it. Religious leaders have spoken out, saying changing the flag is a “moral issue.”  The NCAA, SEC, and Conference USA this month took action to ban post-season play in the state until the flag is changed.

Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.

Kayleigh Skinner joined the Mississippi Today team in January 2017 as an education and legislative reporter and advanced to a senior staff member in her four years with the company. Skinner most recently served as deputy managing editor before assuming the role of managing editor. Kayleigh has a bachelor’s in journalism from the School of Journalism and New Media from the University of Mississippi. Before joining Mississippi Today, Kayleigh worked at The Hechinger Report, Chalkbeat Tennessee, and The Commercial Appeal. She has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, and BBC Newsday Radio to discuss her reporting.

Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.

Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.