Engaging the citizenry or a waste: Springfield senators split on new state flag bill
A bill opening the process for Illinois to create a new state flag advanced out of the Senate on Thursday, but not before a brief debate between Springfield's two senators.
Senate Bill 1818 from state Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield, passed 39-16 during floor debate and will now move to the House. Her bill, still pending House approval, would create a 21-person committee tasked with deciding whether the state needs a new flag.
Recent:Paprocki leads Illinois March for Life rally; abortion access groups have counter protest
Turner's first passed bill in the 103rd General Assembly gives the committee until Sept. 1 to determine whether or not the flag needs to be replaced and then until Dec. 3, 2024 - the day in 1818 when Illinois became the 21st state in the union - to report recommendations to the legislature.
The state flag has remained basically the same since it was first adopted in 1915. Its only change in 1969 was an addition of the word “Illinois” underneath an eagle standing on a rock with a shield beneath its feet.
So far, Turner said her office has received hundreds of calls from middle schools and high schools wishing to participate.
"People talk all the time about disconnected the citizenry is with government," she said during the floor debate. "I think this is a great opportunity to give people a reason to get excited about Illinois again."
State Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, rose in opposition to his fellow Springfield legislator. He said he appreciated Turner bringing the bill to the table, even saying the new designs could be "spectacular," but said the legislature should spend its time with more pressing matters.
"We need to be focused on the things our constituents are concerned about and I've yet to have that issue of our state flag be raised by one constituent," he said. Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, was the sole Republican 'yes' vote.
McClure during a previous floor debate Thursday joined Democrats in supporting Senate Bill 1561. The bill from state Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Lake Forest, would ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public spaces.
Contact Patrick Keck: 312-549-9340, email@example.com, twitter.com/pkeckreporter.
This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Bill creating new state flag commission passes in Illinois Senate,