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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signaled on Tuesday that he would sign a bill officially retiring the current flag of the state that includes the flag of the Confederacy sewn into it.

Sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody at the end of May, protestors nationwide have been calling for an end to public displays of the Confederacy and have even taken action to remove its symbols.

Throughout the country, demonstrators have toppled Confederate statues and monuments as many Americans demand the rooting out of systemic racism.

As a result, Mississippi – the only state in the country that has the Confederate logo on its flag – has received lots of pressure to change its flag.

The state's flag has born the Confederate symbol since 1894, even though nearly 40 percent of its population is Black. Throughout the years, the flag has been used by the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups because of its Confederate roots.

In 2001, the layout of the flag was put to a statewide vote, but Mississippians voted to keep the flag as is.

After Reeves signs the bill into Tuesday night, the current flag was officially be put out to pasture, the Associated Press reports.

The new flag will not have the Confederate symbol, but must have "In God We Trust," and a commission will design the new flag to be put up for a vote in November.  

Tags Tate Reeves Mississippi Confederate flag George Floyd protests Confederate statues

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26 Mississippi legislators test positive for COVID-19 after outbreak tied to state Capitol

A coronavirus outbreak linked to the Mississippi State Capitol has infected more than 20 state lawmakers, according to a top health officer. 

State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs told The Mississippi Clarion Ledger that 36 people who work at the Capitol have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, including  26 lawmakers. The figure means that about 1 in 6 legislators have contracted the virus. 

The leaders of both chambers — Speaker Philip Gunn (R) and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann (R) — are among those who have tested positive. Dobbs said that the Mississippi Health Department is actively monitoring the outbreak, noting that 290 people have been tested at the Capitol so far this week. 

The uptick in infections follows a month in which many legislators worked in the Capitol without following health guidelines recommending the use of face masks. Legislators convened in late June to advance an ultimately successful proposal to remove a Confederate symbol from the state flag.

State Rep. Ronnie Crudup Jr. (D) said in a Facebook post Wednesday that he had contracted the coronavirus. In a statement, he said that he wore a mask 95 percent of the time while "around the Capitol and public places," but emphasized that the 5 percent of the time he did not may have made the difference. 

"I'm sharing all of this to hopefully educate and put a familiar face with the issue at hand," he said.

As of Thursday morning, Mississippi health authorities had reported nearly 33,000 confirmed and probable cases of the COVID-19 in the state and about 1,180 deaths caused by it. The news of an outbreak at the Capitol arrives as several parts of the U.S. experience a surge in infections, prompting several states to pause reopening plans and institute measures requiring face masks in public spaces. 

At least 22 states and Washington, D.C., have implemented mask requirements, according to a tally maintained by The Hill. 

Tags Mississippi coronavirus outbreak COVID-19 Pandemic

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