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Reaction To The New Proposed SD State Flag

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Legislators consider bills that could bring change for the future of South Dakota; but one proposed bill is stimulating conversation and some say even a little controversy.

Eighty-one of 105 state legislators have signed on to sponsor a bill that would give South Dakota a new flag to fly. It's a design that sponsors of the bill say, has been 20 years in the making.

"I think it is a design that could really promote pride in South Dakota,” said State Representative Bernie Hunhoff, the main sponsor of the new flag bill. “It would be good for our people. It would unify our state.”

The proposed bill for the new flag describes the new design as a red medicine wheel surrounded by yellow geometric rays of sunshine, over blue and dark blue circles on a sky blue background.

Hunhoff says the current state flag featuring South Dakota's state seal is due for a change.

"The seal is not a flag,” said Hunhoff. “The United States of America has a beautiful seal with an eagle but that is not our flag.”

Hunhoff says the artist's design has historical significance. The sunshine is meant to pay tribute to a previous state flag when South Dakota was known as the sunshine state. It also blends in with the medicine wheel, which Hunhoff says is used to represent the four directions from the first South Dakotans: the Native Americans.
While the legislators must consider the bill, South Dakotans must consider what the change means.

"It could really fracture peoples' connection to a symbol or flag or image that they have seen their whole lives,” said Chris Perry, a visitor of Sioux Falls.

Others say while, the new flag may include important symbols that are appropriate historically, it's much easier to know that the current flag belongs to South Dakota.

"It's an immediate indicator for visitors of the things that the state was founded upon,” said Perry.
 That’s something that some say the new flag might not do at first glance.

"It's really colorful, but I wouldn't have any clue what state that was if I see that flag,” said Stephen Klock of Sioux Falls.

The flag may be subject to change, but until then the state seal will continue to fly to represent the Mount Rushmore State.

In a survey done in 2001 by flag experts, the current South Dakota flag was ranked as one of the worst in North America.

When asked about his thoughts on the flag change, Governor Dennis Daugaard says while he has not paid much attention to the issue, he believes that if a change is made the state should give other citizens the opportunity to offer their design ideas as well.

Maren Larson
Facebook Fan Page: Maren Larson KDLT News
Follow On Twitter: @MnlarsonKDLT
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