Bill getting rid of new Utah state flag fails to advance

Feb 8, 2024, 4:24 PM | Updated: Feb 9, 2024, 6:42 am

A photo of the new Utah state flag proposal unveiled Monday. The new design includes a five-pointed...

A photo of the new Utah state flag proposal unveiled Monday. The new design includes a five-pointed star that replaces an eight-pointed star. (Photo: Utah Legislature)

(Photo: Utah Legislature)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would have gotten rid of the new Utah state flag while reinstating the old one failed to move forward Thursday.

After a lengthy hearing with passionate comments from both sides, lawmakers on the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee voted 7 to 1 to hold HB436, sponsored by Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, and not advance it.

Lyman’s bill would have repealed the Legislature’s decision last year to create a new state flag, which officially takes effect next month. It also would have required any future flag changes to be decided by voters.

“The Utah state flag has been a symbol for our state for a very long time,” said Lyman, who is running for governor. “We are very attached to it. I think we deserve to have a voice on it.”

A group of citizens has been working to gather signatures to put the new flag on the ballot, allowing voters to decide whether to keep it or not. Their efforts to launch a referendum failed last year, but they have since been working on an initiative.

The group has until Feb. 15 to turn in 134,298 signatures of registered Utah voters to get the question on the 2024 ballot. They had turned in 79,670 certified signatures as of 9 a.m. Thursday, according to the lieutenant governor’s office.

During the House committee hearing, Rep. Melissa Garff Ballard, R-North Salt Lake, noted the old state flag is “not going anywhere.” Lawmakers last year decided to designate it as the historic flag, and the banner will still fly at certain times.

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Bill getting rid of new Utah state flag fails to advance