State senator who backed flying confederate battle flag tweets he’s not ‘confederate sympathizer’

State Sen. Jay Collins, R-Tampa, with Gov. Ron DeSantis

By Dan Christensen,


That’s the key takeaway from Republican State Sen. Jay Collins’ chief of staff’s statement Wednesday declaring that his boss’s proposed legislation to authorize the confederate battle flag to be flown on state and local government buildings in Florida was merely a blunder.

“This amendment draft was filed in error and has already been pulled as we work to ensure the wording of our bill is in line with the state constitution and statute, which is what created this issue in the first place,” wrote spokesman Ted Veerman.

In fact, it was withdrawn Tuesday afternoon about an hour after Florida Bulldog sought to question Collins about it. Collins, who represents parts of Tampa, did not respond to the request for comment.


Veerman likewise did not respond to Florida Bulldog’s further request Wednesday to explain what prompted the senator to tweet out Veerman’s statement, why such an “error” happened, and why Sen. Collins and he waited overnight to issue any statement.


Veerman also had this to say in his tweet: “Jay Collins is an American patriot who personally sewed his arm back together on the battlefield in Afghanistan as he was hemorrhaging blood along with losing his leg due to injuries sustained in active combat in defense of the flag of the United States of America.

Any insinuation that Jay is a confederate sympathizer is disgusting.” (Emphasis in the original).

The Civil War ended in 1865 with the confederacy’s defeat.

Former Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, who led a successful effort to remove the confederate flag from the Florida Senate’s official seal, said, “I don’t believe for a second that it was done in error. How do you erroneously file an amendment? I’ve done plenty of amendments in my 16 years. I’ve never heard of it.”

Former Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner

“This amendment was more than a mistake. It was language that will govern the flags that can or cannot be flown in public buildings in Florida,” Joyner said. “An apology from the senator is what is required here, not a statement from his spokesperson calling it an ‘error.’ This is a major faux pas and is inexcusable for a man who swore to uphold the constitution.”


Senate Bill 668, filed by Collins, seeks to prohibit state and local governments from displaying flags that don’t follow “a certain protocol or comply with specified requirements.” Collins’ amendment, now withdrawn, included a list of dozen flags – including the U.S. flag and Florida’s flag –, that would be authorized to be flown at state, county and local buildings in Florida.

In the middle of the list: “The flag of the Confederate States.”

Not on the list: The oft-displayed rainbow, or pride, flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) movements.

A senate staff analysis of SB 668, which was not withdrawn and would if passed and signed into law by Gov. DeSantis take effect July 1, does not mention the amendment’s endorsement of the confederate flag, but does state that the bill may have a “constitutional issue.”

That’s because “by limiting the flags that may be displayed by governmental agencies, local governments, or other units of local government,” the prohibition of other flags “may be determined to limit speech.”

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Latest comments

  • Oh C’mon … flying that ol flag is just southern pride! Ya know… sweet tea, fried chicken, mint julips… sittin’ on the veranda with just a little ol side of human bondage. What’s the big deal? All the best folks were doin’ it…

  • While I don’t give two hoots about a Dukes of Hazzard display of “southern pride” (as Amy Mcmahon characterizes it above), because actually it puts a smile on my face that someone is so passionate about the south.

    The question is;

    Why is it you ONLY report alleging conservative misconduct (to inflame liberal insensitivities), and rarely report negatively on Democrats. Oh wait, I know why; its just more leftism type “all for one, one for all” demonization of all things conservative.

  • Being “passionate about the South” makes me smile at my dog whose ears picked up when I voiced the term. I have always felt sorry for General Sherman and the rep he got. General Bragg (actually got a base named after him) burnt much more of the South in his misguided idea of destroying the Southern economy before the Yankees could get it. The South was and is a “taker” meaning that they receive more Federal funding than they contribute. If the South follows MTG’s idea of “divorce” they will just become another third world country. Right now there is not much difference having been to many third world countries.

  • Love you Amy!!!
    Skip T.

  • Southern cultural history (discounting indigenous habitation): 416 years (beginning with the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607))

    Confederal battle flag: 4 years (1861 – 1865)

    A rather short-lived symbol to represent “Southern pride.”

  • Sheriff Chitwood is the goods.

  • Why would anyone in the USA ?? take pride in flying the confederate battle flag? Those flying that flag , killed soldiers flying the red white and blue! It would be like flying the Nazi flag in Israel! Unless there is a alternative motive for flying the confederate flag that is not being mentioned here! This has nothing to do with southern pride but more to do with maintaining a antiquated method of control! Has nothing to do with being a Republican or being a conservative but more to do with intimidation! If we are going to be disingenuous and cowardly, and hide behind words like conservative, patriotism, southern pride; I am afraid this issue will never be resolved!! Those who attempted to overthrow the government and democracy in January 6th 2020, also flew this flag ( confederate battle flag); that alone tells us what the meaning behind this flag really is!!!!

  • While everybody should Jay Collins service to “Old Glory” , it is still not appropriate to have the Confederate battle flag flying from any public building in Floida or any other state.
    It is a representation of a group of states that tried very hard to destroy our country by committing treason. Most men that fought under that flag represented a deplorable institution in our country. We must never forget the reason they fought for that flag! To maintain the practice of keeping other people enslaved.
    And just to let you folks know this is from a 73 year old white guy. Evil will always be evil, no matter what the excuse!

  • Yes, you CAN determine the level of intelligence, comprehension of facts, and extent of compassion of a person by the simple acknowledgment of whether or not embracing the confederate flag of war is appropriate.

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