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“Freedom Flag” bill passes committee after major overhaul

A Senate committee approved legislation Tuesday that would ban most flags from being flown in public.

A previous bill by Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) would have made it a misdemeanor to fly the flag on public land other than on a short and exclusive list.

Allen said Wednesday that there has been a “healthy discussion” about the bill over the past few weeks and proposed an alternative that would gut the bill entirely.

Currently, the bill only allows the “Freedom Flag,” the September 11th memorial flag, to be flown on public land.

The bill came under intense criticism last week, with detractors challenging it as an unconstitutional barrier to free speech.

When the bill was introduced, it would have criminalized a situation in which hundreds of LGBTQ+ supporters waved various pride flags on the grounds of the state Capitol last year.

Opponents of the bill said it could extend to flags displayed in college students' dorm rooms, unless campuses institute special policies.

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The bill is now before the full Senate for consideration.

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