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Gov. Pritzker signs bill to explore creation of new state flag

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The Illinois Flag Commission will select potential flags by September 2024

On Monday, August 7, 2023, Governor JB Pritzker signed SB1818 which creates the Illinois Flag Commission for the purpose of exploring the creation of a new state flag and developing new state flag designs. The commission will make recommendations to the General Assembly concerning whether the current State flag should be replaced with a redesigned flag. By September 2024, the Illinois Flag Commission will select no more than ten potential flags and submit a report to the General Assembly by December 2024.

“Throughout our 205-year history, Illinois has boasted two official state flags—and it may be time we create a new one that exemplifies the values of our great state,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Today, I am proud to sign SB1818 to establish the Illinois Flag Commission to aid us in this process as we decide what our future flag should represent.”

“Our state flag demonstrates who we are as one Illinois, uplifting our history and our values. This bill will ensure the Illinois flag continues to be a symbol of progress and the ideals we uphold with the utmost honor,” said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. “With the creation of the next flag of our state, we are ushering in a new era that will represent every Illinoisan and commemorate how far we have come so we may go even further together.”

Prior to this, Illinois has had two official state flags. The first of these was adopted on July 6, 1915, after a campaign by Ella Park Laurence, State Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Thirty-five designs for the flag were submitted and the winner was crafted by Lucy Derwent. The flag became law on July 6, 1915. In September of 1969, the original flag was amended to carry the state’s name so it was easily identifiable.

The next move to design a new state flag was initiated by Governor Ogilvie. The former Governor convened a committee to develop specifications for a new state flag to ensure uniformity in reproduction of design and color by flag makers. Sanford Hutchinson of Greenfield, who had previously done extensive research on the official design of the state seal, submitted a flag design that was accepted by the committee, the Secretary of State, and the Governor. It became the official flag of Illinois on July 1, 1970.

SB1818 creates a similar committee to the one in 1970, convening the Secretary of State, three members appointed by the Governor, four members appointed by the President of the Senate, four members appointed by the Speaker of the House, four members appointed the minority leader of the Senate, and four members appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, the State Superintendent of Education, and Chairperson of the Board of the Illinois State Museum.

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