Confederate flag debate begins in South Carolina statehouse

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s state Senate has opened debate on the future of the Confederate flag on Statehouse grounds — and the first amendment being considered is one that would put the matter up to a public vote.

Several amendments are expected, with various options that will include keeping the flagpole and putting a different flag on it.

The state’s governor, business leaders and civil rights leaders are among those opposed to flying any flag that flew over the Confederacy.

Republican State Sen. Larry Martin says lawmakers will be as thorough as they can be, in hearing all sides of the debate on whether to bring down the Confederate flag on the Statehouse grounds. But he says, “We need to get to a vote today.”

Outside the Statehouse, dozens of protesters began to arrive this morning. Some called for the flag to come down. Others, such as Nelson Waller in his rebel flag tie, said the state was giving in to Northern liberals and civil rights activists.

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