Senate passes Confederate flag removal bill

Widow of Clementa Pinckney attends Senate vote on third reading

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The S.C. Senate voted 36-3 this morning in favor of a bill that would remove the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds in Columbia.

With the vote, the Senate gave the bill its third reading and passed it on to the House of Representatives, where it will require a two-thirds vote to override the provisions of the Heritage Act, part of a 2000 compromise that removed the flag from the Statehouse dome and placed it on a memorial to Confederate soldiers on the Statehouse grounds facing Main Street.

The three senators who voted nay on the bill were the same ones who voted nay on the second reading Monday afternoon: Sens. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg), Daniel Verdin (R-Laurens), and Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee).

The renewed push to remove the flag from the grounds of the capital building began after a white gunman killed nine people in a Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston. One of the victims, the church's pastor Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was a state senator. Pinckey's widow Jennifer was present in the Senate chambers for the third vote today, and the senators formed a receiving line to greet her after the vote.


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