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Utah Has a New Flag

But opponents are calling for a referendum
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2023 9:55 AM CDT
Utah Has a New Flag
Utah Sen. Dan McCay unfurls the state's new flag on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Utah has a new state flag—but with opposition to the newcomer unexpectedly strong, state leaders are stressing that the old flags aren't going to disappear. Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill Tuesday that will make the new flag the official state flag in March 2024, USA Today reports. He also signed an executive order calling for the historic flag to "be flown at the Capitol at all times and at all state buildings on certain holidays and special occasions." The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the bill, which narrowly passed the state Legislature earlier this month, gives the state four flags: the new one and three versions of the current one.

Cox said he'll ask legislators to amend the bill during an upcoming session to require the old flag to be flown above the new one when they're flown together. "This will ensure that the historic flag will remain a symbol of our history and strength," he said. But the concessions aren't enough for die-hard supporters of the historic flag, who are seeking to gather enough signatures for a referendum on repealing the flag, KUTV reports.

The Beehive State's new flag features a beehive, a five-pointed star, and representations of Utah's mountain peaks and red rocks. The new design, which lawmakers picked from thousands of submissions, "draws upon symbols in Utah's state seal and residents' submissions and suggestions," according to a state information page. The last change to Utah's official state flag happened relatively recently: In 2011, legislators moved the position of 1847—the year Mormon pioneers arrived in the state—to a different position on the flag, fixing a mistake that had been in place for 89 years. (More Utah stories.)

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