Senate votes to remove flag


Meg Kinnard | AP Randy Saxon, left and Wayne Whitfield, both of Anderson, S.C., discuss the Confederate flag on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds with Brodrick S. Hall of Atlanta, right, on Monday, July 6, 2015. Lively discussions on the flag took place on the grounds took place outside the state house where lawmakers debated whether the flag should be removed from the downtown Columbia complex.

COLUMBIA — When the SC Senate voted this week to remove the Confederate Battle Flag from the grounds of the State two members of the Union County Legislative Delegation voted yes while another voted no.

On Monday, the Senate voted 37-3 to approve a bill amending the state code “relating to the flags authorized to be flown atop the State House and on the Capitol Complex, to remove references to the South Carolina Infantry Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America, to provide for the permanent removal of the South Carolina Infantry Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America from its location adjacent to the Confederate Soldier Monument, and to provide that upon its removal, the South Carolina Infantry Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America shall be transported to the Confederate Relic Room for appropriate display.”

The South Carolina Infantry Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America has flown alongside the Confederate Soldier Monument on the grounds of the State Capitol for the past 15 years. Its presence there is the result of a compromise passed by the SC General Assembly that removed the Confederate Battle Flag which had flown atop the State House beneath the US Flag and the SC Flag since 1962.

The removal of the South Carolina Infantry Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America requires a two-thirds vote of both houses of the SC General Assembly. With the passage of the amendment removing the flag by the State Senate, the issue now goes before the State House of Representatives.

The SC General Assembly is composed of a total of 170 members including 46 Senators and 124 Representatives. This includes the four members of the Union County Legislative Delegation which is made up of three Senators and one Representative.

The members of the Union County Legislative Delegation are:

• SC House District 42 Rep. Mike Anthony

The only Union County resident serving in the state legislature, Anthony is chairman of the county’s legislative delegation. A Democrat, Anthony has called for the flag to be removed from the grounds of the State Capitol and placed in the State Museum. As a member of the House of Representatives, Anthony did not participate in the vote taken in the Senate, but will be able to vote on the issue when it is taken up by the House.

• SC Senate District 14 Sen. Harvey S. Peeler Jr.

Peeler, a Republican, represents Cherokee County as well as parts of Spartanburg, Union, and York counties. The senior member of the county legislative delegation, Peeler is also the majority leader of the State Senate. He voted against removing the flag.

• SC Senate District 18 Sen. Ronnie W. Cromer

Cromer, a Republican, represents Newberry County and parts of Lexington and Union counties. He voted in favor of removing the flag.

• SC Senate District 13 Sen. Shane R. Martin

Martin, a Republican, represents parts of Greenville, Spartanburg and Union counties. The SC State House website (scstatehouse.gov) lists Martin as one of five senators who were not present for Monday’s vote. The website listed them as each being an “excused absence.”

Martin’s assistant, Patricia Hamby, said that Martin was away on a business trip Monday, but as soon as he returned he drove to the State Capitol. By the time he arrived, however, the Senate had adjourned for the day.

Hamby said that when the Senate met Tuesday for the third and final vote, Martin was present and he voted to remove the flag.

Tuesday’s vote was 36-3 in favor of removing the flag.

Roll Call

During Monday’s vote, the following State Senators voted to remove the flag:

• Alexander, Thomas C.

• Allen, Karl B.

• Bennett, Sean

• Bryant, Kevin L.

• Campbell, Paul G., Jr.

• Campsen, George E., III

• Coleman, Creighton B.

• Courson, John E.

• Cromer, Ronnie W.

• Davis, Tom

• Fair, Michael L.

• Grooms, Lawrence K.

• Hayes, Robert W., Jr.

• Hembree, Greg

• Hutto, C. Bradley

• Jackson, Darrell

• Johnson, Kevin L.

• Kimpson, Marlon E.

• Leatherman, Hugh K., Sr.

• Lourie, Joel

• Malloy, Gerald

• Martin, Larry A.

• Matthews, John W., Jr.

• McElveen, J. Thomas, III

• Nicholson, Floyd

• O’Dell, William H.

• Rankin, Luke A.

• Reese, Glenn G.

• Sabb, Ronnie A.

• Scott, John L., Jr.

• Setzler, Nikki G.

• Shealy, Katrina Frye

• Sheheen, Vincent A.

• Thurmond, Paul

• Turner, Ross

• Williams, Kent M.

• Young, Tom, Jr.

During Monday’s vote the following Senators voted against removing the flag:

• Bright, Lee

• Peeler, Harvey S., Jr.

• Verdin, Daniel B., III

The following senators were absent during Monday’s vote:

• Cleary, Raymond E., III

• Corbin, Thomas D.

• Gregory, Chauncey K.

• Martin, Shane R.

• Massey, A. Shane

comments powered by Disqus