Charleston senator confident vote to remove Confederate flag will happen next week

Charleston senator confident vote to remove Confederate flag will happen next week

A Charleston state senator said Friday he is confident there are enough votes to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state house grounds.

Democrat Sen. Marlon Kimpson is one of 30 sponsors of a bill that would place the flag in the Confederate Relic Room that shares a building with the state museum.

The confederate battle flag has flown at the confederate monument on the statehouse grounds since the year 2000.

For the most part it has flown in the face of controversy, now more than ever after the murders of nine members of Emanuel AME Church and photos that surfaced showing accused killer Dylann Roof holding the flag.

"I know this whole discussion is being driven by the tragic circumstances of the Charleston massacre," Kimpson said.

Kimpson says his phone and email account are filled with messages from folks, most who want the flag to come down.

"A sign that times are changing where South Carolina is ready to move forward into a new era," he said.

By law, both the house and senate must give three readings for the flag removal bill to become law.

Kimpson expects the senate to give final reading by Tuesday and send the bill to the house.

"We need two thirds of both bodies to pass the bill."

Kimpson says the flag needs to come down to honor the nine Emanuel AME victims, including his former fellow senator Clementa Pinckney.

"We have a unique opportunity to recognize these families and I'm hopeful, I'm hopeful we can finally turn the page on the symbols that divide us."

Kimpson says it's possible the bill could be on Governor Haley's desk by the end of next week.

At least two senators plan to offer an alternative to the flag removal bill.

Sen. Lee Bright wants the public to decide in a referendum if the flag should come down, while Sen. John Courson wants a state flag to replace the confederate flag at the monument.

Copyright 2015 WCSC. All rights reserved.