SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — This past legislative session passed many controversial bills, from transgender rights to abortion, however, there is one bill that is prompting people to take political action.
Eight Utahns have submitted a referendum to have S.B. 31, the new state flag bill, placed in front of voters in the next election, according to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office.
A referendum takes a law passed by the legislature and allows the public to vote on it during the following general election, which in this case would be in 2024. However, for this to be possible, supporters have 40 days from the end of the legislative session to gather handwritten signatures from registered voters.
Supporters would need 8 percent of the state’s active voters and 8 percent of the active voters in 15 Senate Districts to sign the referendum in order for it to be put to a vote. In this instance, the number totals 134, 298 signatures by April 12.
The collection of signatures is often done by circulators, whether volunteers or paid hires, who circulate the petition packets to collect the signatures. If the petition receives the necessary amount of signatures, it will be approved by the lieutenant governor to be placed on the ballot for the following general election.
The state flag bill was altered before passing through the Utah House and Senate. The bill now allows both state flags, the traditional one with the state seal and the newer design, to represent Utah. The bill allows the public to use either flag when it seems appropriate.
Although critics feel that the new state flag is erasing the historical symbolism of the state, supporters of the new design say it is meant to be symbolic in many ways of Utah’s history and culture.
The white band on the flag is meant to represent Utah’s mountainous landscape and peace. The red symbolizes the red rocks of Southern Utah and the American flag. The gold of the beehive reflects prosperity and happiness while the symbol itself alludes to progress and hard work. The blue background suggests natural resources found in Utah and principles such as knowledge, freedom, justice and tranquility.
For more information on referendums in the state of Utah, click here.