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via: TheStateNews.com

Governor Nikki Haley plans a news conference Monday afternoon amid growing speculation that South Carolina leaders are ready to call for removing the Confederate flag from the State House grounds.

South Carolina

Source: Chris Hondros / Getty

Debate about the flag, long a source of a controversy in the state where the Civil War began, intensified after nine parishioners at an African-American in Charleston were murdered Wednesday during an evening Bible study session.

Police have charged a 21-year-old Columbia-area man, who spouted racist statements and was featured in photos holding the Confederate flag.

Haley, a Lexington Republican, is meeting with state political leaders Monday ahead of her 4 p.m. news conference. The office of House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, confirmed he is meeting with Haley at 1 p.m.

Also See: Beyond Charleston: Other Black Churches That Have Been Victimized By White Terror

Democratic lawmakers also have been asked to meet with the governor. On Monday, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides joined a growing list of supporters for removing the Confederate flag from where it flies at the State House.

The GOP-dominated General Assembly has the final authority on removing the Confederate flag from the State House.

State Rep. James Smith, D-Richland, said Monday lawmakers have been on the phone in recent days talking about the Confederate flag.

Smith said there is a “growing consensus among lawmakers – House, Senate, Republicans and Democrats” – to resolve the flag issue before the next legislative session begins.

Smith said lawmakers have the ability vote on removing the flag this summer by amending a resolution that has allowed them to continue working after the regular session ended in early June.

Removing the flag requires a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate.

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