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100-year-old Utah flag design needs update, state lawmaker says

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah state lawmaker is leading an effort to redesign a clunky Utah state flag that critics have called an “S.O.B.” — seal on a bedsheet.

State Rep Steve Handy recently announced he will introduce a bill creating a flag review commission that could ultimately scrap the turbulent form of the 100-year-old flag for a new, simpler one, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

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

Handy said he was recently introduced to the topic of flag design by constituents who advocated for a redesign. Over time, he said, he was convinced that a new flag would be good for the state, and he’s preparing legislation to create a flag review commission.

If approved by lawmakers next year, the commission would seek input and design ideas. Handy said the commission would then make a recommendation to lawmakers ahead of the 2020 legislative session.


The current Utah flag has the state seal emblazoned upon a blue background.

It has gone through various updates, including adoption of its current design in 2011, and includes images of an American bald eagle, arrows, sego lilies and a beehive on a white shield, the words “Industry” and “Utah,” the dates 1847 and 1896, and two United States flags, all ringed in a gold circle.

While many of those symbols are tied to specific elements of Utah history and culture, they effectively blend into incomprehension when the flag is displayed high in the air.

Chance Hammock, a Utah resident, said the Utah state’s flag would be difficult to pick out of a lineup of U.S. state banners, many of which are also blue-backgrounded S.O.B.s.

“Right now,” he said, “Utah’s flag looks like 30 other state flags.”

Hammock, who previously worked for Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, said he pitched the idea of a new Utah flag to Handy after bumping into the lawmaker last summer.

Handy was also encouraged by Joseph Shelton, who runs the website UtahFlag.org as co-director of the Utah Flag Group. The website includes a brief primer on the principles of flag design and invites visitors to submit their own vision for a new Utah flag.

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