A bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from Statehouse grounds cleared the state Senate Tuesday. The vote means the flag’s future is now up to the House of Representatives.
The Senate gave final approval to remove the flag Tuesday by a 36-3 vote, sending the bill to the House. Hours later, the House voted 93-18 to take up the bill on the floor without going through the normal committee process.
However, at least one flag supporter State Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, has already threatened to file dozens of amendments in an effort to grind debate to a halt. House leaders believe they have the support needed to invoke cloture if needed and halt any new amendments, but that would not address those amendments already filed. Supporters and opponents would have three minutes to speak on each amendment if cloture is invoked.
House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, said Democrats want a “clean” flag bill, meaning they want nothing to replace it. “We don’t want another symbol of the Confederacy, another symbol of hatred and racism, that they simply allow South Carolina to move forward,” Rutherford said during a press conference with other House Democrats before Tuesday’s Senate vote.