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“Freedom Flag” bill passes committee after major overhaul

The previous iteration of the legislation would have prohibited most flags from being flown on public property.

A Senate committee approved a law Tuesday that would have prohibited most flags from being flown on public property.

The previous iteration of the legislation by Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, would have made it a misdemeanor to fly a flag on public property outside of a short exclusive list.

Allen said Wednesday that there had been “healthy debate” on the bill over the past few weeks and offered a substitute completely gutting the bill.

Now the legislation merely authorizes the flying of the “Freedom Flag,” a Sept. 11 remembrance flag, on any public property. 

The bill faced heavy criticism last week as detractors challenged the bill as an unconstitutional barrier to free speech.

As it was introduced, the bill would have made a situation last year a crime, when hundreds of LGBTQ+ supporters waved a variety of pride flags on the property of the state capitol.

Opponents of the bill said it could have even extended to flags displayed in college students’ dorm rooms unless a campus created a specific policy otherwise.

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The bill now advances to the full Senate for consideration.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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