January 30, 2024
PIERRE, S.D.–A proposal to commission a group to create a new state flag in South Dakota failed to clear a Senate committee Monday morning.
Had lawmakers passed Senate Bill 113, it would have created a task force made up of appointees from the Governor, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Tribal Relations, the Director of the State Historical Society, the Secretary of Tourism, the Director of the South Dakota Arts Council, and two practicing visual artists from South Dakota to come up with a new design for the state flag to replace the old one.
Senator Reynold Nesiba of Sioux Falls had two vexillologists, people who study flags, testify to the merits of changing the state’s flags. One of those testifiers was Ryan Schultz, a senior from Brandon Valley High School who pushed Nesiba to bring the bill.
“South Dakota has a lot of new eyes on it,” said Zach Deboer, a vexillologist who helped design the city of Sioux Falls’ flag in 2018. “Now is the perfect time for us to do this, and pick a design made byand for the people.”
“People are not using our flag to show how proud they are of being from South Dakota, it’s just not happening,” Deboer continued. “You don’t see it on t-shirt and hats.”
The bill failed in committee on a vote of 5-3.
Nesiba told South Dakota Broadcasters Association after his bill’s defeat that he was optimistic about the direction of the conversation moving forward.
“I am hopeful that this bill will start a dialogue about our state flag,” said Nesiba. “It could be more effective at representing this state that we all love.”