State Flag Task Force to solicit public input and design suggestions – St George News
Official Flag of the State of Utah, 2021 | Image courtesy of Utah Department of Culture and Community Engagement, St. George News
ST. GEORGE – The task force overseeing the process of potentially changing Utah’s official flag is preparing to launch a public awareness campaign next month.
Called “More than a Flag,” the initiative is designed to generate interest and generate commentary on the issue. A basic website has already been created, though the campaign won’t officially kick off until Jan. 19, a day after the 2022 Utah Legislature is expected to begin its annual regular session.
Members of the public of all ages, including schoolchildren, will be able to submit their own flag design ideas, starting Jan. 19 until the end of April, according to the website.
Task Force Representative Elizabeth Weight D-West Valley City spoke to St. George News on Thursday regarding the committee’s efforts to date, as well as an overview of the anticipated future timeline.
The nine members intervention force includes Governor Spencer Cox, Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson and six state lawmakers, as well as Jill Love, executive director of the Utah Department of Culture and Community Engagement.
State lawmakers on the panel include Sen. Daniel McCay, R-Riverton and Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton, who were the sponsors of SB 48, a law passed earlier this year formally designating a new flag of State commemorative to coincide with Utah’s 125th state anniversary.
This commemorative flag, which has been seen flying under the U.S. flag and the official Utah flag in many state buildings, courthouses and other facilities, is only scheduled to fly this year, Weight said.
The task force is exploring the possibility of permanently changing the official flag of Utah, which, like those of nearly half of the 50 states, simply consists of the state seal on a blue background.
The flag of the US state that most recently underwent a change was that of Mississippi, which earlier this year changed from its long-standing design that incorporated the Confederate battle flag to a new one that features a magnolia, its flower. of state.
Weight noted that, unlike the situation in Mississippi, there is nothing objectionable about the current Utah state flag.
“There is no controversy,” she said. “We have no problem with our flag.”
That, Weight said, raises the question of whether Utah even needs a new flag.
“Why do we need a new state flag and aren’t there better things to invest our money and time in? It’s conversation and it has two well-defined sides. Because there are people who really support the idea of a new state flag and there are people who don’t.
Personally, Weight said she wasn’t necessarily enthusiastic about changing the state flag, but said she assured the other committee members that she would not be against it.
“I’m a process person in this picture,” she said. “I’m really happy to see the process move forward. “
So far this year, the state flag working group has met several times already, with its most recent meeting at the State Capitol on Monday of this week.
During last month’s extraordinary legislative session, a Invoice was passed, which essentially pushed back all of the working group’s deadlines by one year.
According to the revised schedule, design submissions will be solicited until the April 30 deadline, after which they will be evaluated by a review committee that includes professional artists and designers, flag experts, and historians of the culture and educators. This committee will select a number of finalists.
Then, after a public comment period next August, three of the best designs will be sent to the working group for review. Next fall, the task force will then make its recommendation to the Utah Legislature for final approval, likely at its January 2023 regular session.
If a new official state flag is ultimately decided, the current state flag would likely become the “governor’s flag,” a topic also discussed at last month’s special session. Such a move would allow Utah to retain its historic flag, albeit on a limited basis, even if a new, more distinctive state flag is introduced.
Some state flags known for their uniqueness and recognizable character include those of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona.
Weight said that while some have suggested that a more attractive flag would improve Utah’s market value, she sees it as more than that.
“Our lawmakers have been in other places where these flags are, and people wear pictures of these flags, on caps, T-shirts, bags and things,” she said. “They saw it as a point of pride in their state. And so, they want that kind of pride in our state. “
Weight said that what she initially interpreted as a simple marketing campaign, she now understands is rather “pressure for people to display a Utah symbol as a point of pride, of interest and excitement “.
“This is something that has really helped me to be a stronger participant in the process,” added Weight.
A quote from Governor Cox on the “More Than A Flag” website highlights his own support for the initiative:
More than a flag is an opportunity to reflect on what unites us as Utahns. I believe this conversation can help us come together. A new flag can help us reframe our thoughts on what matters – and remind us that our state’s best days are yet to come.
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