Confederate Flag in Florida Senate seal on its way out
Citing historical inaccuracies and a need to reflect modern values, a Senate committee unanimously recommended Thursday that the Confederate flag be removed from the Florida Senate’s official seal.
The vote came after little discussion and no opposition from the bipartisan panel. A two-thirds majority vote of the full Senate, or support from 27 of 40 members, is needed to complete the change.
The rebel flag has been in the chamber’s insignia since at least 1972 as part of “a fan of the five flags that have flown over Florida.” Including the Confederate flag in that array is historically inaccurate, said Senate Rules Chairman David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, who said he endorsed the rule change “simply upon legal issues.”
Sixteen different flags have flown over Florida in its long history, and the state shouldn’t endorse flags of illegitimate governments, he said, referring to the Civil War rebellion of the southern states.
For others, the rule change embodies something more personal: a desire to rid the Senate’s insignia of a controversial symbol that has a widespread effect, “especially [for] those of us who have African ancestry as it relates to a dark period in our history that still has a profound effect upon many of us,” said Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner of Tampa.