Via NBC News:
In solemn tribute to the nine people gunned down at a Charleston church, two flags atop the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, were lowered to half-staff on Thursday. They will stay there for nine days in honor of each victim. But in a bewildering display, a Confederate flag on statehouse grounds is still flying high. It wasn’t an oversight. It’s because of state law, according to reports. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has jurisdiction over how and when state flags fly — but the Confederate flag is under the authority of the state’s General Assembly. It can’t be changed in any way without a sign-off from the General Assembly, The Washington Post reported. A state press secretary confirmed that detail to the online magazine Slate. “In South Carolina, the governor does not have legal authority to alter the flag,” the press secretary said. “Only the General Assembly can do that.”
The Confederate battle flag and its display is legally protected under the South Carolina Heritage Act, which was enacted in 2000.