State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, has ‘fessed up.
Last week, at a closed meeting of the Senate Republican caucus – the same one that stripped Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of his authority – members voted to require a pledge of allegiance to the state flag before the chamber’s daily business.
Mullis said he had no intention of sparking another debate over state sovereignty, but confessed that it was his idea. He issued the following statement this afternoon:
“During last week’s caucus meeting, I proposed that our chamber deliver a pledge of allegiance to the state flag, in addition to the U.S. flag, before we begin the Senate’s daily business. We are the State Senate, and we should honor one of our most important state symbols.
“Pledging your pride to the state is not an act of dissention to your country, but simply an affirmation that you stand for Georgia’s principles of wisdom, justice and moderation.” said Mullis. “Georgia’s flag is more than just a symbol of our state’s storied history as one of the original Thirteen Colonies; it’s a reminder that we must learn from our past to create a better tomorrow.”
On the Democratic side, George Hooks of Americus was beside himself. “I’m delighted that they have decided to salute the flag of Georgia that I designed,” he said. Adopted in 2003, the stars-and-bars design – state Rep. Bobby Franklin, R-Cobb County, also had a hand in it – dates to the Civil War but was intended to thwart a statewide referendum the return of the ’56 flag.
Which featured the Confederate battle emblem.
Most Republicans voted against the flag they’ll now require the chamber to salute.
Not all Democrats are of the same opinion as Hooks. State Sen. Emanuel Jones of Decatur, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, says he will absent himself from the chamber rather than recite a pledge to a state flag.
Mullis’ proposal to salute the Georgia flag was his only piece of good luck that day. The chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee was Cagle’s chief defender during the debate over the lieutenant governor’s powers.