A new Georgia flag has moved a step closer to adoption after a Senate committee unanimously approved it.
But the decision came over the objections of black lawmakers, Southern heritage supporters and even a flag expert.
The Senate Rules Committee voted to send the new flag, which echoes an early Confederate banner but has no rebel X, for a full Senate vote as soon as next week.
The House already has voted to take down the current flag, which was hastily changed in 2001 to shrink the rebel cross.
A new flag would feature the state seal on a blue field in the top left corner, with three red-and-white stripes and the words In God We Trust to the right.
The new banner must be approved by the public next March. If the In God We Trust flag fails, voters could choose an old flag dominated by the battle cross in July.