We Asked if Pennsylvania Needed a New State Flag. Here’s What You Said

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By Patrick Berkery

July 11, 2023

A state lawmaker recently proposed legislation calling for the redesign of Pennsylvania’s flag. So we asked our readers their thoughts on the topic. This is what they had to say.

Does Pennsylvania need a new state flag?

State Rep. Joe Webster thinks so.

The Montgomery County Democrat recently proposed legislation calling for a redesign of Pennsylvania’s state flag. 

Webster’s reasoning? He feels the Pennsylvania flag is indistinguishable from the 19 other state flags that feature a seal on a blue background. In his memo on the bill, Webster cites the North American Vexillological Association’s (Google it; it’s a real thing) five principles of a good flag, which are to keep it simple, use meaningful symbolism, use two or three basic colors, avoid lettering or seals, and be distinctive or be related. According to Webster, Pennsylvania’s state flag does not embrace these principles.

The first state flag was authorized by the Pennsylvania legislature in 1799 and featured the state coat of arms on a field of blue. In 1907, another law was passed standardizing the flag and requiring that the blue match that of the blue in the US flag. 

@keystonenewsroom

Earlier this week, Democratic state Sen. Sharif Street (Philadelphia) and Republican state Sen. Dan Laughlin (Erie) released a bipartisan memo outlining a plan to re-introduce legislation to allow Pennsylvania medical marijuana patients to grow the plant at home. This would help close the accessibility gap for patients in rural areas when it comes to accessing medical marijuana, as most registered dispensaries are located near the cities. Lena Pothier explains what the proposed bill signals for the potential of marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania. Credit: Lena Pothier #Pennsylvania

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Webster isn’t the only one who feels Pennsylvania needs a new state flag. The group Keystone Flag also thinks our flag needs an update.

Last week in our newsletter (which you can subscribe to here), we asked readers if they thought Pennsylvania was in need of a new state flag. Here’s what they had to say:

“I’ve been joking with friends about running for governor solely on the issue of creating a new flag. Yellow keystone on a blue field. Boom.” 

Kevin McGlinchey, Media

“Absolutely agree that the PA flag is boring and indistinguishable from other state flags. It should represent the beauty and history of Pennsylvania.”

Peggy Schiavo Spinozzi, Limerick

“I don’t think that a new flag is a priority. Wonder how much it would cost taxpayers to change to a new flag?”

Marcea Thomas, Pittsburgh

“Yes to a new flag design for the commonwealth. I would simply replace the state seal on the existing blue background with the image of a yellow/gold keystone. It’s simple, distinctive, and unmistakable.”

Gary Jastrzab, Philadelphia

“Yes, we need a new state flag. The current one has no relationship to anything in the state.  A new one should perhaps be the Liberty Bell, mountains, lakes, or the three rivers depicted somehow. Definitely should have a green or maybe black background.”

Connie Saltarelli, New Florence

“The need for a new flag resides somewhere between worthless and idiotic. There are enough things wrong in the state and country that the efforts might be better used. How about the legislators do the business of the state’s citizens, and not cutesy stuff like this?”

Karl Beilstein, Butler

“Keep the flag we have now, no changes need to be made.”

Marilyn Grasso

“We do not need a new state flag. Our flag is beautiful.”

Jeff Stanfield

READ MORE: Building Connections in the Keystone State: 12 Places to Meet Like-Minded People in Pennsylvania

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