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Minnesota (U.S.): proposals for a new flag

Last modified: 2004-12-31 by
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History of the Process

Sen. Edward Oliver today introduced a bill in the Legislative to create a taskforce to study the state flag, and in the House a companion bill will be introduced with John Rhoades (Chair - House Govt Operations Committee) as a co-sponsor.

On Tuesday, Feb. 19th, there will be a press conference in the State Office Building press conference room (across from the Sec. of State's office). Sen. Oliver has requested that Fr. Becker, Mr. Mark Stratton, and I attend and speak to the issue. Others that wish to attend are welcome.

Lee Herold, 16 February 2002

On Feb. 20, 2002 a news conference was held in the news conference room 112 of the State Office Building, next to the State Capitol, to introduce this bill to the media. Sen. Oliver discussed the need to consider a new flag. He argued that flags are important, especially since the Sept. 11th disaster in New York. He argued that the current flag is too complex, that children cannot draw it, and it is time to take a look. He mentioned the NAVA survey that rated Minnesota 67 of 72 North American flags.

[Proposed Flag of Minnesota]  by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 21 February 2002

I was invited to give a few remarks (I discussed some flag design principles & how the current flag does not meet them), and to introduce our design, (drawn by Edward Mooney a year or 2 ago on FOTW) created by Fr. William Becker in 1988. Mr. Marc Stratton was also there to introduce his amazingly similar design  (white star centered) designed in 1989, just after our design. Both designs were displayed in full sized 3x5 foot nylon appliqued flags, along with the Minnesota flag, and the University of Minnesota flag (maroon with a gold -spanish yellow- letter M). There was much media attention, AP wire item, TV, Radio, print. Front page
picture of me and the proposed flag in our local paper, the Rochester Post Bulletin (www.rochesterpostbulletin.com - full article restricted by password & email address).

On Feb. 21, 2002 there was the first committee meeting in the Minnesota Senate, Minnesota Capitol building, Room 107. The committee was the Agricultural, General Legislation & Veterans Affairs Committee, Sen. Murphy, Chairperson, 12 members. The committee had a very full agenda and requested a very short presentation. Sen. Oliver repeated a short version of the remarks of the previous day. At the end of his remarks, I introduced our flag design and an explanation. Questions were directed to the Senator only, and his testimony influenced 2 Senators who realized for the first time that Minnesota has had 3 flags, and the last in 1983 does not make it such a historical item. The chairman determined the matter would be more proper in the State & Local Government Affairs Committee and a motion was entered. In discussion one Senator believed it needed more study (before a study group is established?) and she was going to vote no, although she thought it should be studied. Senator Vickerman was flatly opposed, likes the current flag, does not like the attacks on the farmer. A farmer is shown on the current
flag. The vote was 6 to 2 to refer it to the State & Local Government Affairs Committee, of which Senator Vickerman above is the Chairperson.

Summary: 
The bill has passed one committee. This committee could have killed or tabled the bill.
Senator Vickerman can try to delay the bill or keep it off the agenda if he strongly wants to stop it.
No committee hearings have been scheduled yet in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Lee L. Herold, 21 February 2002

The colors are 3 horizontal stripes of royal blue, white, and Irish green, the white stripe wavy. In the canton is a large Spanish yellow star, representing the North Star, the motto of Minnesota. The blue is for the 10,000 lakes. Minnesota in Sioux language means land of the sky tinted waters. The green represents the agriculture and forests presently depicted on the flag of Minnesota.

Lee L. Herold, 21 January 2003

Minnesota Flag legislation.
Bill to form a committee to study the design of the Minnesota State Flag.
Senate File: SF 3201 and House File: HF 3556.
Search at http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us

The committee would consist of 3 Senators and 3 Representatives.

In the House. Passed the Government Operations Committee. Will be up for a floor vote, date not scheduled. Sponsors, Reps. Erhard, Leppik, & Bradley. The Speaker of the House, Rep. Sviggum, and the Minority Leader, Rep. Pugh both support the bill.

In the Senate. Passed the Agriculture & Gen. Legislation Committee. Referred by the Rules Committee to State & Local Government Operations, Chair Sen. Vickerman. Hearing date uncertain. Sponsors, Sens. Oliver, Scheid, Terwilliger, Kiscaden. The Majority Leader, Sen. Moe, and the Minority Leader, Sen. Day, both support the bill.

The Governor. Gov. Ventura stated on his weekly radio show in response to a question that Lt. Gov. Schunk likes the current flag, and based on her opinion he may veto the bill.

Lee L. Herold, 4 March 2002

Today, Tuesday, March 26, 2002, the State & Local Government Operations Committee Minnesota Senate, Chaired by Sen. Vickerman, Tracy, meet to discuss
SF 3201, a bill to study the design of the Minnesota Flag. Testifying were the sponsor, Sen. Edward Oliver, Deephaven, and me. Sen. Oliver gave an excellent presentation on the importance of the flag, how the flag developed, and the need to improve it. I spoke on the flag created by Fr. William Becker that we had presented as one proposal for a new State Flag. Prior to the committee meeting Sen. Oliver had polled the committee of 12 and found only two opposed to the bill, one was Sen. Vickerman the chairperson. However, after the presentation, Sen. Betzhold came out strongly against the idea of a taskforce, stating that "we" are always trying to get rid of taskforces. Sen. Vickerman in his opening remarks, and each time he spoke continued to argue that although the committee was free to vote as it wished, he, personally, was strongly opposed, the current flag says Minnesota to him, and it should not be changed. We do not know if it was the dynamics of a group (committee) where the strong negatives influences the other members, or if Sen. Vickerman had privately talked to his committee members and persuaded them to vote no. On the voice vote, it was 6 opposed to the flag study, and 4 yes. The motion failed and this means there will be no action in the Senate, and the House will not schedule a floor vote this session either. It is too early to determine what other action might be taken or when.
Lee L. Herold, 27 March 2003

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