Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) criticized Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is running for the Republican nomination for president, for "fooling around with the idea" of putting the Confederate Flag on a Texas license plate.
"To put on the state license plate a flag that symbolized fear, intimidation, oppressive action, brutality, slavery and the death of slaves ... and the brutality of Jim Crowism is an outrage and will not be tolerated," said Rep. Jackson Lee, who is black, according to The Hill. She added in her speech on the House floor that a state allowing the Confederate flag license plate should be seen as "not worthy of receiving federal funds."
"What you ask the state to do is, in essence, give credibility to a symbol that has been used as a symbol of brutality and death," she said to the Los Angeles Times.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles board split 4-4 in an April vote on whether to allow a specialty Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate showing the Confederate flag, leaving the matter unsettled. One member was absent from the vote, and another member who voted in favor of the plan died in June. The opinions of the absent member and the new member appointed to the board, El Paso auto dealer Raymond Palacios Jr., are not known. A portion of the proceeds from the license plate sales would go to the SCV.
SCV specialty plates are available in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Tennessee.
The NAACP has gathered over 22,000 signatures petitioning against the proposed plate. The SCV says that they want to honor Confederate war dead and don't aim to offend.
A Perry spokesperson told the LA Times that he believes the decision is for the board. Perry wrote a letter in 2000 to the SCV stating, "I want you to know that I oppose efforts to remove Confederate monuments, plaques and memorials from public property." The Huffington Post's Jason Cherkis reported on Perry's periodic troubles with race throughout his electoral career.
The board is set to meet Nov. 10, but it's not known whether the board will vote again on the issue.