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New Utah state flag becomes official as Cox signs bill, executive order

Posted at 4:44 PM, Mar 21, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's new state flag is now officially "official" after Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill and an executive order Tuesday declaring it, well... official.

Cox signed Senate Bill 31, which passed the legislature earlier this month. The governor had supported the bill as it made its way through the legislative session. The executive order allows the current flag to be flown with the new flag at the Capitol.

"Our traditional Utah state flag has been a symbol of faith, diligence and strength to Utahns, and will continue to fly at the state Capitol along with the new state flag of Utah," tweeted Cox.

The original state flag was created back in 1903 by the Daughters of the American Revolution and was adopted by the legislature on March 9, 1911. That flag will now be known as the "historic state flag," while the new flag will be referred to as "state flag."

State agencies will fly the historic state flag on state property for each legal holiday, and the governor asked that the law be amended to have it flown above the new flag at the Capitol.

SB31 came out of a lengthy, statewide public process where thousands of ideas and designs were submitted. The new design invokes a popular "beehive" in the middle of symbols of white mountains of northern Utah and redrock canyons of southern Utah.

"I am grateful for the tens of thousands of Utahns who participated in designing and selecting this new flag. Just as we have much to be grateful for from our ancestors, I hope that today’s Utahns will be worthy of the mantle that has been placed upon them to preserve and build Utah’s legacy for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come," said Cox in a statement on the bill's signing.

Critics of the flag have launched a citizen referendum to overturn the law, needing roughly 134,000 signatures by mid-April to qualify for the ballot. As of Tuesday morning, the group had turned in a total of 137 signatures.

The flag change won't take effect until March 9, 2024.