TALAHASSEE, Fla. — An amendment to a bill aimed at allowing certain flags to be flown on government property was withdrawn Tuesday after it was filed in error, according to John Wallace, the Press Secretary for the Florida Senate Majority Office.
The bill reached the Florida Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability committee on Tuesday. During debate, language was added to the bill that would specifically allow the Confederate flag be flown, while also forbidding the Pride flag in front of or in government buildings.
What You Need To Know
- A bill proposed in Florida's legislature aims to limit the flags that are allowed to be flown in or near government buildings
- A recent amendment would allow the inclusion of the Confederate flag, the amendment was later withdrawn
- The Pride flag was not included in the allowed list
The bill, known internally as SB 668 and HB 1011, was filed on February 9, ahead of the beginning of this year’s legislative session in Tallahassee. The proposal called for a ban on the “improper display of flags.”
“A governmental agency, local government, or other unit of local government may not, in any manner, for exhibition or display, expose to public view any flag that does not follow the protocol adopted by the governor,” the proposal read when filed.
An amendment created in the committee would alter the bill to allow only the listed flags, if approved and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Perhaps most notable is the inclusion of the flag of the Confederate States, listed between flags of Florida’s universities and colleges and flags indicating beach warnings. The amendment was later withdrawn, after it was filed in error.
Also notable is the exclusion of another flag that has flown in or near governmental buildings in the past: the Pride flag. The government in St. Petersburg flies the Pride flag outside of City Hall, an action that would not be allowed should the bill pass in the current form.
Other flags specifically allowed in the bill include flags already allowed by state law, including the U.S. flag, the United Nations flag, and the state flag.
An analysis of the bill created and provided by the “Professional Staff of the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability” asserts that there could be a constitutional question by the bill’s ban on other flags.
“This bill, by limiting the flags that may be displayed by governmental agencies, local governments, or other units of local government, to the state flag, U.S. flag, POW-MIA flag, and Honor and Remember flag, prohibits other flags and therefore may be determined to limit speech,” the analysis said.
The analysis also stated that the bill, as currently written, doesn’t actually define what a flag is.
As of Tuesday, March 14, there had been no votes on the measure, as the proposal is still up for debate in committee.