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The Utah State Legislature considers whether to redesign the state flag

State flag design concept
Posted at 3:13 PM, Feb 19, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are once again considering whether to redesign the state flag.

Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, is pushing his Senate colleagues to back a bill that would create a commission to explore redesigning Utah's traditional flag to make it more modern and instantly recognizable.

"The flag that we created in 1896 is substantially what we have today," he told FOX 13. "It’s basically the state seal on a blue background."

Utah's current flag has been criticized in the past as being rather dull.

"I see pioneers who were hoping to convince the United States we were willing and wanting to be part of the United States, right?" Sen. McCay said. "Fast forward to today, we’re well into the experiment now of the United States, firmly established as a state. So the question is, is there something we can do to capture the history of where we’ve been and at the same time, build on the future?"

Sen. McCay points to neighboring states like Colorado and Arizona as examples of good flag designs that are instantly recognizable. To help persuade his fellow lawmakers to back the commission bill, Sen. McCay had some concepts drawn up by the Utah Jazz marketing department's Ben Barnes, a highly sought after graphic artist.

In his interview with FOX 13, Sen. McCay repeatedly emphasized these were only concepts and not official designs. They played with some of Utah's symbols including the Sego Lily, the beehive and our mountains.

During a presentation to the Senate Minority Caucus, some lawmakers appeared intrigued as they were quickly shown some of the ideas. But Sen. McCay said any flag design that is created will have public input.

"We’ve seen in the past how, if you show up with a flag and say 'This is the flag,' it’s hard to get people to rally behind it and adopt it because they’re not part of the creation," he said.

Few topics engage constituents with lawmakers quite like the state flag. It seems everyone has an opinion on it. Last year, a flag design was introduced only to have lawmakers kill the bill when the artist appeared unwilling to make any changes to it.

Sen. McCay said House Bill 250 establishes a public commission with public input on the design.

"I’m excited that people are talking about it and I’m grateful there’s a dialogue going on. I would love to see a new flag," he said. "I would love to continue celebrating our old flag and our heritage and finding that balance is key for me."