- Associated Press - Monday, July 31, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Latest on discussion about the Mississippi flag at a legislative conference (all times local):

7:35 p.m.

Some Southern legislators have met privately to discuss Confederate symbols and race relations.

The discussion took place Monday during the annual meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi. It was closed to the public and the media.

George Flaggs, a former Mississippi lawmaker who took part in the discussion, tells The Associated Press that black and white legislators from Mississippi, Georgia and other states had an open, honest discussion about how Confederate symbols affect race relations.

Flaggs, who is black, has publicly called for Mississippi to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.

Mississippi has the last state flag with the emblem, which critics see as racist.

More than a dozen people protested the Mississippi flag Saturday outside the opening of the legislative meeting.

___

1:21 p.m.

The Confederate battle emblem on the Mississippi flag is prompting protests at a regional legislative meeting.

Lawmakers and staff members from 15 states are in Biloxi, Mississippi, for the Southern Legislative Conference annual meeting.

They are having policy discussions that cut across state lines. But most members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus are boycotting the meeting because of the flag, and several other people protested the banner Saturday outside the opening reception.

Mississippi has the last state flag with the Confederate symbol. Critics see the symbol as racist.

Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn is chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference .

Gunn says the Confederate emblem is offensive and should be removed from the flag, but he says there’s no consensus in the state House to make the change.

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