POLITICS + GOVERNMENT
Group files paperwork for referendum on new state flag
SALT LAKE CITY — The topic of Utah’s new state flag is a hot button issue to some, and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. A group filed paperwork to the Lt. Governor’s Office on Monday for a referendum. They hope to repeal it.
“This referendum is more about the process than it is about the actual flag itself,” said Chad Saunders, one of the people who filed the petition.
“I really think what it came down to, especially in the final days [of the session], people didn’t feel like the legislature was listening to them. Our goal here with this referendum was just to remind the legislature that they do represent their constituents.”
Saunders was asked specifically what it was about the flag that he didn’t like.
“I think it’s a great logo, if they want to use it for branding and marketing, if they want to put it on a license plate, that’s terrific,” he said. “My background is marketing and advertising, I didn’t feel like we needed to replace our flag to do branding,” he said.
Saunders added that views vary among those who don’t like the new flag. During the flag’s debate in the legislature, some argued it was “canceling” state history.
“Let’s be honest, conservatives are the modern-day boogie man right now,” Saunders said. “This is not a conservative issue. It’s an issue of listening to the people.”
Bill sponsor weighs in
Sen. Dan McCay (R-Salt Lake City) told KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovoic that “there’s a chance” this could end up on the ballot for voters to weigh in on.
“This is one of those times and one of those debates where it’s not really partisan,” McCay said.
“This fight is not about the old flag. The old flag is still going to fly in the state of Utah…Really this fight is [about], can people who want a new flag, can they have a flag and can the historic flag fly? Both can be honored and really recognize the state.”
McCay recognized that some people feel like that’s threatening to the existing flag.
“I don’t see it that way,” he said, arguing that several states have multiple flags.
McCay also defended costs of replacing the old flag.
“The state vehicles, with the state seal on them, we won’t replace them,” said McCay. He said many of the flags that fly at state buildings “last a month.”
“We will plan to replace the old flags with the new ones as the other ones wear out,” he said.
He added that “there is zero dollars in the bill.” Though did say they spent $300 thousand dollars on outreach and polling.
McCay argued the referendum would cost taxpayer more to fight.
“If the public doesn’t want it, then great, onward and upward,” he said.
What is the proposal for the flag referendum?
According to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, the group must collect 134,298 signatures statewide. Additionally, they must meet certain signature thresholds in at least 15 of the state’s 29 counties. The deadline is April 12.
- Some signatures may be disqualified.
- Individuals may remove their signature from the petition at a later time.
Furthermore, sponsors have 40 days from the end of the legislative session to collect the necessary signatures. The legislative session ended Friday, setting the deadline for April 12.
- Sen. McCay shares his thinking behind need for new state flag
- Economic committee hears from public on changing the Utah State Flag
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