New Utah flag signed into law; Governor Cox specifies use of historic flag

Reading Time: 2 minutes Utah gained a new flag after Governor Cox signed S.B. 31 into law, the bill to take effect on March 9, 2024. Cox also signed an executive order specifying the use of the historic flag and petitioning the state legislature to amend the law to allow it to fly higher than the new flag, as some seek to put the flag on a referendum.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A new Utah state flag has been adopted after Governor Spencer Cox signed S.B. 31 into law, ending a year-long process that sought public opinions and a designing process that aimed to create a new flag for the state of Utah.

Signing the bill into law early March 21, Cox also issued an executive order alongside it to specify the importance of the historic state flag (Utah’s current flag), in what he described in a statement given to The Review as “[to] never forget the sacrifices that have been made by our ancestors.”

“I am grateful for the tens of thousands of Utahns who participated in designing and selecting this new flag,” the statement read. “Just as we have much to be grateful for from our ancestors, I hope that today’s Utahns will be worthy of the mantle that has been placed upon them to preserve and build Utah’s legacy for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come.”

The new flag is set to take full effect on March 9, 2024. The proposal for a new state flag came into swing after Senator Dan McCay proposed a bill in the previous session to create a task force that would propose designs for a new state flag, citing that Utah was a distinctive state that deserved a distinctive flag. After the task force came up with a design, he proposed it to the state legislature.

Governor Cox’s executive order outlines that the current state flag will be flown over the capitol building every day over the year and states a plan to petition the state legislature to amend the current law to allow for the historic flag to be flown higher than the new state flag.

“I’m excited about all the effort Utahns took to participate in the design of the new flag and hope that it serves the Beehive state for many years to come,” McCay said in a tweet. “I’m grateful the Governor found a way to insure that our current flag will maintain an important role in the future of Utah. I plan to open a bill to make the changes he requested…”

The new flag is composed of Utah’s signature beehive, signifying industry, community and the year 1847, when pioneers settled Utah. The star symbolizes when Utah became a state, and the hexagon represents the strength of the Utahn people. The blue represents Utah’s skies and faith; the white is meant to represent Utah’s snowy mountains and their peaks, representing Utah’s Indigenous history. Finally, the red represents the red rocks of southern Utah and symbolizes perseverance. 

Critics of the new flag have launched an attempt to put the state flag on a referendum to overturn the new law. This process would require nearly 134,000 signatures, composed of people from all of Utah’s counties. According to Fox 13, the group has a total of 137 signatures.