An altered bill to create a commission to consider a new state flag was passed out of a Utah legislative committee Tuesday afternoon.
House Bill 219, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton, had previously been held by the same committee in February, along with a competing bill that would have chosen one, specific flag design to replace Utah’s current flag.
The substitute bill passed out of committee Tuesday had aspects of both of the previous flag bills. True to Handy’s original bill, a State Flag Review Commission would be formed. Unlike the previous version, the committee would be comprised of only 11 members, would preserve Utah’s current flag as the “state historical flag,” and allowed public submissions of flag designs for consideration.
The committee would be tasked with issuing a request by July 1 for the public to submit proposed state flag designs, choose 40 of those designs to gather pubic input on, then report a recommendation to the Government Operations Interim Committee during the Legislature’s November interim meeting.
The flag from the competing bill was included in Handy’s bill as one design that can be considered, though with a few changes. The year 1847 was removed from the design, as the year had drawn criticism for being the year LDS pioneers arrived in the state, rather than the year Utah attained statehood. A red star was also omitted from the design in the bill’s description.
That flag was designed and promoted by Provo businessman Richard Martin, and contains a prominent yellow beehive surrounded by yellow, red and blue triangles meant to represent the crossroads of the west.
Utah’s current state flag was first adopted in 1911. It features Utah’s state seal, which includes an eagle with outstretched wings, the state motto “Industry,” a beehive, sego lilies and both the years 1847 and 1896.
The bill now goes on to the House for consideration, with just over a week left in the 2019 legislative session.