UPDATE 12:25 p.m.: Hillsborough County Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to remove a confederate flag hanging inside the Hillsborough county government building in Tampa. Commissioner Les Miller, the lone black member on the Hillsborough County board, planned to ask commissioners Wednesday to remove the flag and give it to the Tampa Bay History Center. Miller said he had received complaints about the rebel banner after a white attacker killed nine black people in a historic Charleston, South Carolina church in June.
Original post below:
Lawmakers in Hillsborough County, Florida were expected to debate Wednesday the future of the Confederate flag that currently hangs in the county’s headquarters, WTSP 10 News reported. The county commission’s only black member planned to argue that the flag should be put in a museum, while another board member said he would defend the rebel banner.
The flag has hung in the lobby of the Fred B. Karl County Center in Tampa for 20 years and is one of five historical national flags that has flown over Hillsborough County. The Confederate flag is not identical to the rebel banner taken down outside the South Carolina State House last week, but rather a version that the Confederacy adopted before the end of the Civil War. The flag contains a blue-on-red cross in the corner nearest to the flagpole, and the remainder of the flag is white with a single red stripe on the edge. The other four flags hanging in the lobby of the building represent Spain, France, Great Britain and the United States.
— tbt* (@tbtnewspaper) July 15, 2015
Commissioner Les Miller, the lone black member on the Hillsborough County board, planned to ask commissioners Wednesday to take down all five flags and give them to the Tampa Bay History Center. Miller said he received complaints about the Confederate flag after a white attacker killed nine black lives in a historic Charleston, South Carolina church in June. Commissioner Kevin Beckner, who is white, also requested the removal of the flag.
"It need not — and should not — be glorified by local, state or federal governments," Beckner said, The Tampa Bay Times reported.
Commissioner Stacy White, however, said he will push to keep the flags in the lobby and instead plans to propose a countywide referendum that will let the voters decide whether or not to keep the Confederate flag.
"I've been watching what's going on nationwide over this issue, and Hillsborough County should step up and take a leadership role and show the rest of the nation that politicians should step away on this issue and let the people decide,” White said, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
A countywide, special election that only covers the flag issue would cost $1 million to $1.5 million, Supervisor of Elections Office spokeswoman Gerri Kramer told WTSP 10 News.
— SOUTHERN PRIDE GOP (@SouthPrideGOP) July 8, 2015
In recent weeks, many politicians in the South have moved to remove the Confederate flag in government buildings in the wake of the Charleston shooting. In the Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi state flags, symbols of the old Confederacy form part of the flags themselves.