The Mississippi House has rejected an effort to punish universities for not flying the state flag that prominently features the Confederate battle emblem.
All eight of the state's public universities have furled the flag in recent years amid criticism that it's racially insensitive in a state with a 38 percent black population.
Republican Rep. William Shirley of Quitman, who is white, offered an amendment Tuesday saying any university that refuses to fly the Mississippi flag could not receive bond money. It would have cost each campus about $1 million for repair and renovation projects.
The House rejected the amendment, with 52 members voting for it and 65 voting against it.
All black representatives who were present rejected the amendment, as did many whites.
Mississippi has used the flag since 1894.