Lawmaker calls for a new Utah state flag

Dec 13, 2018, 2:17 PM

Utah State Flag...

File photo of a 1922 Utah State flag at the Utah State Historical Society. (Photo: Stuart Johnson, Deseret News)

(Photo: Stuart Johnson, Deseret News)

The Utah state flag has been called a “seal on a bedsheet”, a “big blob on a blue background”, and nothing short of a “mess.” And now, one lawmaker says it’s time to get rid of it.

State Rep. Steve Handy has announced his plans to push a bill that would replace the Utah state flag with a new, simpler design. If his bill passes, our state may see a new flag flying over the Utah State Capitol Building by 2020.

A mess of a flag

The history of the Utah State Flag

A display at the Utah State Capitol describing the evolution of the Flag of Utah. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“It really is a mess,” Handy says. “They’ve thrown everything in there but the kitchen sink.”

The current flag shows a bald eagle perched over the state seal: a beehive surrounded with sego lilies with the words “industry” above and “Utah” below. American flags burst from each side of the seal, and while the dates 1847, the year the pioneers first entered Salt Lake Valley, and 1896, the year Utah was admitted to statehood, have both squeezed their way into the design.

That’s a lot going on for just one flag, critics say.

Handy is hardly the first people to complain about it. In the past, Ted Kaye, author of “Good Flag, Bad Flag”, has vocally criticized our state flag, calling it “a big blob on a blue background.”

And, in 2001, a NAVA survey ranked our flag one of the worst in North America, putting it in 58th place out of 72 states and provinces.

An entire organization called the Utah Flag Group has even been created that does nothing but lobby for a new state flag. Like its other critics, their director, Joseph Shelton, calls the Utah state flag cluttered, saying:

“A proper flag should have simple, yet meaningful symbols that are visible even from a distance,” the organization says. “Our flag today that flies over buildings throughout the state does not serve its purpose.”

Shelton was one of the people who convinced Handy to push a bill to create a new flag. Handy, however, says that he wasn’t the only person he heard complain. He says that he decided to push his bill after he heard his constituents criticize it.

If Handy’s bill passes, a commission will be created that will take and review submissions for a new Utah state flag. The commission will put through a recommendation before the end of 2019.

Dave & Dujanovic’s Utah state flag

Dave & Dujanovic's Utah State Flag

Dave & Dujanovic threw their hats in the ring for a new Utah state flag with this design.

KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic, with the help of their Digital team, have put together their own design for a new state flag

Our listeners called in to let us know what they thought, and if you hate our design as much as they did, you’ll love hearing them tear into every last thing we did wrong:

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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Dave & Dujanovic

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Lawmaker calls for a new Utah state flag