Illinois Flag

A new Illinois flag? Here's why proponents want to change the banner

NBC Universal, Inc.

The state of Illinois is one step closer to adopting a new flag after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill establishing a commission to explore a design for a new banner.

Senate Bill 1818 passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly earlier this year, with lawmakers saying that a decision on a new flag could come in the next few years.

The bill has created an Illinois Flag Commission to develop new designs for a flag. That commission would make recommendations to the General Assembly, who would then decide whether to launch a full redesign of the flag by Sept. 1.

Illinois has had two state flags, the latter of which was adopted in 1969. Both featured an eagle on a white background, with the latter flag incorporating the word “Illinois” into the design.

While the designs have remained largely-unchanged, the state has continued to evolve, and officials are seeking to reflect those changes in a potential new design.

“History is a living, breathing and ever evolving,” Sen. Doris Turner, who sponsored the legislation, said in a statement. “We need to ensure government is evolving with the times, so people are engaged and part of what is going on across this state.”

If they decide to move forward, the new flag design would be submitted to the General Assembly by Dec. 2024.

“Illinois is a diverse state made up of rural, urban and suburban communities known for its agriculture, strong workforce, home of Abraham Lincoln and more,” Turner said in a statement. “Our flag doesn’t show that. It’s time we have a flag that truly represents our state.”

Several states have recently adopted new flags, including Georgia and Mississippi, both of which designed new banners to eliminate use of the Confederate Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Louisiana and South Carolina have both recently altered their designs, while Utah embarked on a lengthy process to change their state flag.

It was their procedures that inspired Turner’s bill, with a task force receiving more than 7,000 designs and 44,000 public comments before a new banner was chosen.

*Note: A previous version of this story indicated that referred to the Confederate Battle Flag as the "Stars and Bars." Those designs are different, and the error has been corrected.

Contact Us