06 Jul Myrtle Beach Online: Horry County Senate Delegation Votes to Remove Flag; Most Area House Members also in Favor
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State senators representing Horry County residents voted in support of removing the Confederate battle flag from S.C. Statehouse ground during a vote on Monday in Columbia.
Sens. Greg Hembree, R-Little River; Luke Rankin, R-Conway; Ronnie Sabb, D-Greeleyville; and Kent Williams, D-Marion voted in favor of the second reading of a bill that will move the flag. Hembree, Rankin, Sabb and Williams are among 28 co-sponsors to the bill filed by Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw.
Sen. Ray Cleary, R-Murrells Inlet, was not present Monday for the vote.
“The Senate has spoken a clear and Christian message today… that good can come from bad,” Rankin said. “I’m proud of our response and only hope that the profound sense of grace and healing will continue.”
The Senate voted 37-3 in support of the bill, which would have the state place the Confederate flag to the Confederate relic room “for appropriate display.” Sens. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg; Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee; and Daniel Verdin, R-Laurens voted against the bill. Five senators were absent during the vote.
The Senate will reconvene 10 a.m. Tuesday, when it could vote on the third reading of the bill. The third, and final, vote requires a two-thirds majority to pass, a rule that was set in a 2000 legislative compromise.
The S.C. House could take up the bill as early as Wednesday, where members will have to vote two times. A survey of House members conducted by The (Charleston) Post and Courier, the Associated Press and the S.C. Press Association, showed 83 of 123 were in favor of removing the flag. Depending on how many members are present for the vote, that could satisfy the two-thirds majority required for the flag’s removal.
The survey found these Horry and Georgetown county legislators in favor of removing the flag: Rep. Carl Anderson-D; Rep. Alan Clemmons-R; Rep. Gregory Duckworth -R; J. Wayne George-D; and Stephen Goldfinch-R.
Those opposed were: Kevin Hardee-R; and Mike Ryhal-R.
Others from the area delegation couldn’t be reached.
In an earlier interviews, Duckworth said: “I think that if the majority of the people feel like it needs to come down, I can support that. “You hear a lot of things out there, [such as] it’s a symbol of heritage. Why is it that symbol of heritage has to be any more important than any other symbol? “There’s a place for it, but I don’t know that it has to be [on the Statehouse grounds].”
Ryhal said moving the flag wouldn’t change the way people feel about race.
“We have numerous monuments all over the Statehouse grounds reflecting the history of South Carolina and I see that flag as a piece of our history. … The fact is it’s part of the history of the South. There’s no problem with having it out there.”