SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The process of designing a new Utah state flag will begin Wednesday, with the governor’s input.
Earlier this year, Governor Spencer Cox signed a bill passed by the legislature that creates a task force for a new state flag.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Representative Stephen Handy, spoke with ABC4 in December, saying he was approached by constituents three years ago regarding concerns about the flag’s appearance.
“I’m a native Utahn, and I never thought about the state flag. It’s just there,” Rep. Handy explains. “But as they started pointing out its deficiencies and kind of its old look, I thought this is pretty interesting. Businesses all the time rebrand, so why not have the state flag rebranded?”
You can see the flag below, featuring the national bird of the United States, the state flower (the sego lily), the state motto (“Industry”), and a beehive, which plays into the motto and represents progress and hard work. And the years – 1847, when pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, and 1896, when Utah joined the Union as the 45th state. You will also notice the American flags have only 45 stars, signifying Utah as the 45th state. Additionally, there are six arrows below the eagle that represent the Native American tribes that live throughout Utah.
The bill’s other sponsor, Senator Dan McCay (R-Riverton), spoke with ABC4’s Glen Mills in April about the process of developing a new state flag. You can watch their full ‘Inside Utah Politics’ discussion below:
Initially, Governor Cox will chair the new state flag task force. Other members include Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson; Sens. Jacob Anderegg, Luz Escamilla, and McCay; Reps. Stephen Handy, Robert Spendlove, and Elizabeth Weight; and Jill Love, executive director of the Department of Cultural & Community Engagement.
“Utah’s flag should symbolize our values and our ambitions,” Gov. Cox says. “I’m hopeful we can design a new state flag that better represents both our past and our future, and that reflects what makes Utah such a special place.”
While the task force will oversee the process, one of its core principles is to give every Utahn the opportunity to shape the principles and symbolism of the new flag.
According to a Monday release, the new state flag will have a “simplified design that is more iconic,” incorporating symbolism more reflective of Utah’s heritage while representing all Utahns and the state’s aspirations for the future.
“Utah is a very distinctive state, but our current flag blends in with many other state flags. We can do better,” McCay says. “The new state flag can be simplified with a design that is both innovative and memorable.”
When a new state flag is chosen, the current state flag will become the Governor’s Flag, which will still be flown publicly. The state seal, on the current flag, will also remain in place.
The first meeting of the State Flag Task Force will be held Wednesday, June 16, at 4 p.m. in the Utah State Capitol Boardroom. It is open to the public.