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New state flag? Minnesota House passes bill with commission to consider redesign

Should Minnesota redesign its state flag?
Should Minnesota redesign its state flag? 02:07

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota's state seal and flag could get a revamp thanks to a bill moving forward in the state legislature.

The state House on Friday approved a state government spending package, which includes a provision to create a 13-member State Emblems Redesign Commission that will submit a report to the legislature with new designs by January 1, 2024, for lawmakers to consider.

Minnesota's current flag is its state seal on a blue backdrop. Supporters of making a change say it doesn't abide by the tenets of "good flag" design and suggest the current symbolism has racist undertones. It depicts Native American on horseback riding as a farmer tills the land.

The proposal instructs the commission to come up with designs that "accurately and respectfully reflect Minnesota's shared history, resources, and diverse cultural communities," according to bill language.  It also requires the group to consult vexillologists, who study flag design.

"I think it's high time we have flag and state seal that we can be proud of that are distinguishable from other states and don't contain offensive imagery," said. Rep. Mike Freiberg, DFL-Golden Valley, during floor debate Friday.

Several other states similar flags. Some Minnesotans have considered designs of their own that prominently use a star symbol, a nod to the state's motto, "L'Étoile du Nord."

Members of the commission would include three members of the public and members representing the Dakota and Ojibwe communities, among others. Appointments to the commission will be made in August.

The bill still needs a vote in the Senate, but it's expected to pass before session ends Monday.

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