New Utah Flag Design Proposal Features Golden Nod to Beehive State

A task force tasked with choosing a new state flag for Utah has announced its favorite, offering to send the new design to the state legislature for final approval.

Utah’s new flag would feature a prominent gold beehive in the middle over a series of blue, white and red horizontal stripes.

The design could become the official state flag as early as early next year, provided lawmakers approve it.

The proposal comes after several years of sometimes contentious debates over whether Utah needed a flag and what it should include. Lawmakers created a special task force for the job, with members then holding months of reviews and receiving thousands of submissions from the public.

The proposed new state flag for the state of Utah includes symbols for red rock, snow-capped mountains, blue sky, and an industrious beehive.  The Utah Legislature is expected to consider formalizing the new flag in its next session.

In the spring, Utahns submitted more than 7,000 flag designs and descriptions, and then a group of volunteer designers narrowed those ideas down to 20 semi-finalists.

In the fall, more than 44,000 Utah residents expressed their opinion on these semifinal models in a poll. Respondents identified key symbols and colors that could represent Utah’s common identity.

“This is the first time in (our) history that we have had a flag that has public participation, lots of public participation,” Governor Spencer Cox said. “The public built this flag.”

The symbolism incorporated into the new design spans a wide range of Utah interests. The hive would be a no-brainer for “the state of the hive” and its reputation for hard work. The white stripe, shaped like snow-capped mountains, sits atop the red stripe, which is said to represent the red rock landscapes of that state. The blue stripe above represents “Utah’s traditions, our lakes and dark skies,” according to the task force’s written press release.

The Utah state flag flies above the Utah State Capitol Building during the 2014 legislative session, Monday, March 10, 2014.

Opinion:Celebrate Flag Day by celebrating the ambition for a new Utah state flag design

The golden hexagonal rim around the beehive “suggests strength and unity”, while the eight-pointed star under the beehive “represents hope and the eight sovereign tribal nations of the state”, according to the statement.

A bill that would formalize the adoption of the flag design is underway, said Sen. Dan McCay, R-Salt Lake City, a member of the task force.

However, the old Utah flag will not disappear completely. If the new flag is adopted, the old one would become the official ceremonial flag of the governor’s office.

The current version of the state flag, adopted in 2011, features the seal of Utah surrounded by a gold circle on a navy blue background. It was a slight adaptation of a flag used since 1913, which featured a bald eagle, the sego fleur-de-lis, and the state motto, “Industry”.

David DeMille writes about southwestern Utah for The Spectrum & Daily News, a USA TODAY Network newsroom based in St. George. Follow him on @SpectrumDeMille or contact him at [email protected] To support and sustain this work, please register today.

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