Latest on Church Shooting: Boehner Leads Funeral Delegation

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6 p.m.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will lead the bipartisan congressional delegation traveling to South Carolina on Friday for the funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.

Charleston Shooting
A portrait of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, right hangs on a wall, Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C., in the basement of Emanuel A.M.E. Church where the killing of the pastor and eight others occurred in a mass shooting. The congregation at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal swayed and sang, prayed and welcomed the world into their sanctuary on Sunday, holding the first worship service since a white gunman was accused of opening fire during a Bible study group, killing nine black church members. (AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool)

“The people’s House continues to keep the people of Charleston in our prayers as they mourn such senseless loss,” Boehner said in a statement on Tuesday.

Pinckney was one of nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church fatally shot last Wednesday during a Bible study.

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5:45 p.m.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says he supports removing the bust of Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state Capitol.

The Republican governor told reporters on Tuesday that if he’s picking which Tennesseans to honor, “that would not be one of the Tennesseans I would honor.”

Haslam says he also supports removing the Confederate flag from license plates and specialty plates in Tennessee.

Haslam’s comments follow news media reports that a couple of Metro Nashville Council members are seeking to cover up a private statue of Forrest that sits along the Interstate 65 corridor.

The moves from state and local lawmakers come days after nine people were gunned down in a historic Black church in South Carolina, prompting a debate over Confederate symbols.

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3:50 p.m.

A South Carolina senator has proposed a bill that would move the Confederate flag from the Statehouse to a relic room in a museum.

Democratic Sen. Vincent Sheheen introduced the bill Tuesday. It would move the flag from a 30-foot pole in front of the Statehouse to the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.

Sheheen’s introduction came after lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed to take the first step to debating the flag, which will likely occur later this summer.

Sheheen made the proposal after nine Black church members were killed in Charleston in what police say was a racially motivated attack by a young White man. The suspected gunman was photographed holding a Confederate flag in a purported manifesto.

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3 p.m.

Only one South Carolina senator stood up to speak against extending a special legislative session to debate removing the Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds.

Sen. Danny Verdin’s voice broke as he remembered his friend, slain state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who was the pastor of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal church at the time of the rampage.

Verdin, a Republican, didn’t give a reason for his opposition beyond saying he talked to his constituents and others. Verdin said he hopes “we continue to embrace each other in disagreement.”

Another senator who is expected to vote against moving the flag also spoke briefly, but didn’t mention his opposition. Sen. Lee Bright, a Republican, said he was taken aback by the forgiveness offered by several families of the victims at the bond hearing for the suspect.

The Senate approved extending the session by a voice vote. The House earlier approved it 103-10. The flag will likely be debated in a couple of weeks.

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2:40 p.m.

An Alabama lawmaker says the state should remove Confederate flags from the Alabama Capitol grounds.

The remarks from Rep. Alvin Holmes of Montgomery on Tuesday come in the wake of the shooting deaths of nine people at a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, and amid a growing chorus of voices to remove the flags and other Confederate symbols from that state and others in the South.

Holmes says he will file a legislative resolution to remove the flags from the Capitol grounds. The flags surround an 88-foot tall Alabama Confederate Monument that was erected in 1898.

Holmes says the flags are offensive and have no place at a public building.

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2:30 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina thanked the senators who have reached out to him after the killings in Charleston last week.

Emerging from the weekly Republican luncheon Tuesday, Scott also praised the family members of the nine victims who spoke of forgiveness during Friday’s court session with Dylann Storm Roof, who faces murder charges in the massacre.

“I am thankful that I live in a country where forgiveness can be seen.”

Tim Scott is a Republican who appeared with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday when she announced that she believes it’s time for the Confederate flag flying on the Statehouse grounds to come down.

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2:15 p.m.

Vandals have again defaced the statue of Jefferson Davis at the University of Texas as another push is underway to remove it from the Austin campus.

Campus security spokeswoman Cindy Posey says “Black lives matter” was scrawled early Tuesday on the base of the statue to the president of the Confederacy, and also on those for Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Albert Johnston.

“Bump all the chumps” also was sprayed below the Davis statue.

This is at least the fourth time over the years that the Davis statue has been defaced. The latest comes following the slaying of nine parishioners at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Meanwhile, in Texas, an online petition recently was launched to have the Davis statue removed from campus.

But Davis’ great-great grandson, Bertram Hayes-Davis, says his ancestor was a statesman with a broad list of accomplishments who’s being unfairly demonized.

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2 p.m.

The South Carolina House has approved a measure that allows lawmakers to consider removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds.

The lawmakers are in a special session Tuesday to pass a state budget, but they took the extraordinary step to allow the flag debate after nine Black church members were killed last week in Charleston.

Legislators will pass a state budget and when they return to consider Gov. Nikki Haley’s budget vetoes, they will take up the flag issue. That could be in a couple of weeks.

The House held a moment of silence for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a state senator, who was killed in the attack.

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1:40 p.m.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid says the massacre in Charleston and other killings around the country demand action.

It’s highly unlikely, however, that Congress will move on gun control.

In a speech on the Senate floor, he said: “We can expand gun background checks and prevent the mentally ill and criminal from buying guns. Is that asking too much?”

After the 2012 killing of 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the Senate failed to strengthen background checks.

Now, the odds of any congressional action on gun control are even longer with both the House and Senate dominated by Republicans, who traditionally have been less sympathetic to curbs on gun ownership.

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1:35 p.m.

The only Republican to speak at Tuesday’s rally outside the South Carolina Statehouse to bring down the Confederate flag asked supporters to be respectful of all views.

Sen. Tom Davis of Beaufort serves a district that adjoined slain Sen. Clementa Pinckney’s district at the southern end of South Carolina. They serve vastly different populations — Davis’ district is full of affluent retirees living near the beach, while the Democrat Pinckney’s district was poor and majority black, inland from the expensive homes and resorts.

Davis said they became friends. Pinckney reached out to Davis when he arrived at the Senate in 2009.

Davis recalled Pinckney saying: “It’s important for you to have a core set of beliefs. But it is also important for you to look through somebody else’s eyes, to stand in their shoes.”

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1:15 p.m.

Mississippi’s lieutenant governor says voters, not lawmakers, should decide whether to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.

Tuesday’s statement by Republican Tate Reeves came a day after Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn called the emblem offensive and said the state flag should change.

Mississippi voters decided by a 2-to-1 margin in 2001 to keep the flag that has been used since 1894, with the Confederate symbol in one corner.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has said he supports those election results.

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1:05 p.m.

Kentucky’s Republican nominee for governor says the state should remove a statue of Jefferson Davis from the Capitol rotunda.

Matt Bevin said Tuesday that he applauded South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for asking lawmakers to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds after the shooting deaths of nine people at a Black Charleston church last week.

Bevin says it would be equally appropriate for Kentucky to remove the statue of Davis, the only president of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Democratic nominee Jack Conway says he also agrees with Haley’s remarks on the South Carolina flag but that he would have to think about whether he would support removing the statue.

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