Despite representatives expressing love for the current Utah state flag, a bill to create a commission to determine whether Utah needs a new state flag flew through the House with a vote of 46-26. It will now go to the Senate.
Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, said he sponsored HB219 because constituents approached him asking if he had thought about the state flag, he said that he had not.
“That’s the issue. People don’t think about it, but you look at other states where there are bold and bright and passionate state flags and they think about it,” Handy said.
In Texas, he said, you see the state flag everywhere — on shirts, mugs and hats. But in Utah it is only seen at ceremonial times or flying on a flagpole.
He said the commission would not necessarily choose a new flag, but would consider whether the people want a new state flag. He said schoolchildren are already reaching out and are excited to participate.
“This would be a lot of fun … and I think that a great state deserves a great flag,” Handy said.
Rep. Scott Chew, R-Jensen, said he has concerns with the proposal because he believes our flag is elegant. He said language in the bill about the flag being able to be drawn from memory by a child could create something that might appear to be homemade.
“We don’t want to create something that looks unprofessional,” Chew said.
Rep. Elizabeth Weight, D-West Valley City, said she likes the current state flag. She confirmed the bill does not change the flag, but simply would evaluate the flag so she supports the bill.
“I actually don’t want to see the flag changed, but I really appreciate a process to outline steps if we decided to consider a change,” Weight said.
The substitute of the bill that passed through the House added a section saying the commission could consider the specific flag that was proposed in HB292. Both flag bills were heard in the same committee meeting.
Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, also spoke in favor of the bill, saying in the committee meeting he found that there is already quite a bit of interest in a new flag, and that there are also some great designs Utahns could be proud of.