×
×
homepage logo

Bill to create state flag task force passes second reading in Utah Senate

By Connor Richards daily Herald - | Feb 1, 2021
1 / 3

A digital rendering shows a flag designed by the Organization for a New Utah Flag to commemorate Utah’s 125th anniversary of statehood.

2 / 3

A digital rendering shows a flag designed by the Organization for a New Utah Flag to commemorate Utah’s 125th anniversary of statehood.

3 / 3

A digital rendering shows a flag designed by the Organization for a New Utah Flag to commemorate Utah’s 125th anniversary of statehood.

The Utah State Legislature came one step closer on Monday to creating a task force that would study whether Utah should adopt a new state flag.

Senate Bill 48 would create a nine-member State Flag Task Force consisting of state lawmakers, governor-appointees, representatives of the Utah Division of State History, Board of Tourism Development, State Board of Education and “one individual who is a member of a national or international vexillological organization or association,” according to the text of the bill.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, passed its second reading in the Senate on Monday with a 24-5 vote. It still needs to pass a third reading before going to the House for further consideration.

“A great flag becomes a rallying point,” McCay told his colleagues. “My response to those who think we (legislators) have something better to do is, if we had a great flag and a banner for the people to rally under, it would help us during those important times when we’re working on difficult issues.”

McCay referenced a 2001 survey from the North American Vexillological Association rating state flags in the U.S. and Canada on a 1-10 scale. The Utah state flag, which is blue with a golden circle enclosing the state seal, received a 3.47 rating.

“And I will tell you this isn’t the Utah I know and love,” the Republican senator said. “We’re distinctive, we’re unique, and I believe that our flag ought to reflect that.”

McCay pointed out that the state flags of adjacent states like New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado all ranked significantly higher than Utah, enabling these states to bring in revenue by putting flags on shirts, hats and other products.

“We’ve totally ceded our branding, our presence, our telegraph that we’re from Utah, to our sports teams,” he said, pointing out that the easiest way to tell if someone at Disneyland is from Utah is if they are wearing Brigham Young University or University of Utah apparel.

Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, who ultimately voted in favor of the bill, said he didn’t understand the need to look into a new flag design since the current state flag is filled with symbolism.

“I think we’re well-served with our flag and I don’t see a reason to spend the time to really have a task force and try to change something that is really serving the state well,” said Davis.

But Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, noted that lawmakers designated the Utahraptor as the new state dinosaur in 2018 and changed the state tree from Colorado blue spruce to quaking aspen in 2014. Additionally, the legislature passed a bill in 2019 naming the Gila monster as the state reptile.

“If we’re going to spend our time on gila monsters and the state tree, this one actually I think could be of great benefit to the state,” Anderegg said.

The Provo-based nonprofit Organization for a New Utah Flag has advocated for a new state flag since 2019. This general session, the nonprofit is pushing lawmakers to designate a commemorative flag that “tells the story of Utah and its history” to celebrate Utah’s 125th anniversary of statehood.

Newsletter

Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)