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How you can help pick a new Utah state flag

Posted at 1:45 PM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 18:18:08-04

SALT LAKE CITY  — A public comment period is under way to help pick a new Utah state flag.

POLL: What's your favorite proposed Utah state flag?

Utah's Department of Cultural & Community Engagement is soliciting public feedback for 20 semi-finalists in the statewide effort to redesign the official state flag.

"We want to know what the public has to say about them," Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson said at a news conference on Thursday.

The semi-finalists are currently on display for people to see up close in the Hall of Governors at the Utah State Capitol; the Beverly Center for the Arts at Southern Utah University in Cedar City; and at the historic Cache County Courthouse in Logan. They will be there until Oct. 5, when the public comment period ends.

You can give public comment on the proposed new state flag designs by clicking here.

Utah's current state flag has been criticized for being just a "state seal on a blue bedsheet," "boring" and "ugly." Lt. Gov. Henderson said in the history of the current flag, it's been updated only three times since 1903 and the public never got a chance to weigh in on it.

Four years ago, the process began to redesign the flag. The legislature passed a bill creating a public engagement effort across the state to get ideas, symbols and themes. More than 5,000 ideas and designs were submitted and the public engagement process has gotten to the 20 semi-finalists now on display.

"I put blue as the background to represent strength and power and I maintained the beehive symbol because it represents industry and Utah is known as the 'Beehive state,'" said Angelina Nading, a student in Vernal whose design was selected as a semi-finalist. "So I wanted to keep those simple symbols in our flag so it’s not as complicated, but still represents us."

Millcreek student Benjamin Benson's design was also selected.

"It’s the navy blue background with the Sego Lily and the eight-pointed star," he said. "It gives a nod to both our eight tribal nations as well as our pioneer settlers. That was really important for me to represent."

The public comment period, which runs until Oct. 5, can still modify the designs. Utah's Department of Cultural & Community Engagement is asking people to take a survey and give feedback on themes, symbols and elements of each flag. Those could modify the designs right up until a task force advances a final design to the Utah State Legislature later this year.

Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, who co-sponsored the bill for a new state flag, said there were designs he liked. He unfurled one to show elements he favored.

"I like the beehive, the paying tribute to our native tribes, I also like the representation of our white, our mountains! I like that," he said.

Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, wouldn't name his favorite, likening it to picking a "favorite child." But he said seeing the flag designs in person has even changed his opinion on some of them.

"When you print them at this scale, some things that I didn’t love about certain flags I now actually really like about them," he said.

Vote in FOX 13 News' unofficial poll on the flag semi-finalists here.