South Carolina

In a public signing ceremony staged in the lobby of the Statehouse where slain Rev. Clementa Pinckney once worked in the state Senate, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill to remove the Confederate battle flag from a flagpole on the Capitol grounds.

Thursday afternoon's event drew an extensive list of South Carolina's political establishment, including former Govs. Jim Hodges, David Beasley and Dick Riley — as well as the families of Pinckney and the eight other shooting victims who were attacked in a black church in Charleston last month.

The Confederate battle flag that has flown in a prominent spot at South Carolina's Statehouse for more than 50 years is close to being furled and put in a museum, after the state's House of Representatives backed a bill early this morning that would put the flag in a relic room.

After more than 12 hours of debate, the final vote was 94-20.

Gov. Nikki Haley, who is expected to sign the measure into law today, called it "a new day in South Carolina."

Updated at 2:15 a.m. ET Thursday: Final Vote

In a required third vote, South Carolina's state senators voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from its prominent place flying on the Statehouse grounds. The final tally was 36-3. The House will now take up the issue, perhaps as early as Wednesday.

In both the Senate and the House, a vote on removing the flag will require a two-thirds majority. The bill under consideration would move the flag to the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced Monday a new push to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds.

Debate about the flag heated up after nine African-Americans were killed in a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., last week. Its removal would require action by state legislators.

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