With Confederate battle flag gone, new (temporary) seal installed in Florida Senate
Just in time for the 2016 session to begin tomorrow, the Florida Senate has put up a new version of its seal -- absent the Confederate battle flag -- behind the president's rostrum.
The wood-and-vinyl emblem is "temporary," pending any further changes to the seal that senators might opt to make while they're in Tallahassee the next couple months.
In the fall during a special session on redistricting, senators voted to revise their symbol and remove the presence of the controversial flag, one of five flags depicted on the seal. The new version replaces the divisive icon with the official state flag of Florida.
Katie Betta, spokeswoman for Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said the chamber seal cost $350, a little pricier than expected because some metal was needed to afix the wood and vinyl pieces together.
Regardless if senators make further changes, a seal made of more permanent materials will be cast likely in the summer, Betta said. Updates to other Senate seals present throughout the Capitol are expected at that time also.
When senators voted to change the seal, some members called for an entire overhaul of the seal's design, rather than just a swap of the flags. The issue is in the hands of the Senate Rules Committee.
The discussion about revising the seal originally stemmed from the nationwide backlash against the Confederate battle flag, following the racially motivated church shooting in Charleston, S.C., last summer.
Some Republican senators -- dodging the issue of the flag's use by some as a symbol of racism and intimidation since the civil-rights era -- cited a desire for historical accuracy as their motivation for changing the seal. The Confederate battle flag was not one of a sovereign nation, unlike the other banners on the seal, which represent the United States, France, Spain and Great Britain.