Press Herald file photos

The House narrowly advanced a bill that would restore Maine’s original flag design but its prospects remain uncertain following the surprise vote Tuesday night.

Twenty members were absent for the 66-64 vote, which drew universal opposition from the Republicans who were present and a handful of Democrats. The bill now moves to the Senate, where its prospects are murky. The Senate has yet to schedule a vote.

Spokespeople for Gov. Janet Mills did not respond Wednesday to questions about whether she supports changing the design on Maine’s flag to the one the state used when it adopted its first official flag in 1901.

Previous proposals to restore the state’s original flag design have failed in the prior two legislative sessions, most recently by a 91-57 House vote in 2021.

The current flag, designed by a joint legislative committee, is comprised of the state seal with a moose resting under a pine tree flanked by a farmer and seaman on a blue field.

L.D. 86, sponsored by Rep. Sean Paulhus, D-Bath, would replace the current flag with the state flag that was used from 1901 to 1909, which consists of pine tree in the center of a white field with a blue star in the upper left corner.

The Department of the Maine Secretary of State has said there is nothing in the historical record about why the 1901 flag was changed to the one that now flies from flagpoles throughout the state.

Lawmakers already have recommended passing a bill that would replace the standard issue license plate that features a chickadee with a new plate branded with pine tree and blue star of the 1901 flag. And they voted down a bill to make the current state seal description gender-neutral and change one of the men to a woman on the flag.

The House advanced the bill shortly after 8:30 p.m. Tuesday following a 90-minute debate, with six Democrats voting against the proposal. It still faces an initial vote in the Senate, plus additional votes in both chambers.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story