Press Herald file photos

AUGUSTA — The Maine House voted 75-63 Monday in support of holding a statewide referendum this fall to let voters decide if they want to keep the current state flag or replace it with a design based on the 1901 state flag.

Both the House and Senate have now passed the same version of the bill, L.D. 86, putting it on track to be sent to Gov. Janet Mills, who has not revealed whether she would sign the bill into law. Her spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions Monday morning.

The initial Senate vote last Thursday to pass the bill, L.D. 86, sponsored by Rep. Sean Paulhus, D-Bath, was 18-16, with some Republicans voting in support and some Democrats voting against and one member absent.

That Senate’s vote followed a 90-minute debate in the House before House members narrowly approved a different bill to restore the original flag without a state referendum. Twenty House members were absent for that vote.

The Senate amended the bill to require a referendum and that amendment was accepted by the House on Monday.

The state flag in use now features the state seal, with a moose resting under a pine tree flanked by a farmer and seaman on a blue field. It was designed by a joint legislative committee.


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

The Department of the 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.

Proposals to restore the state’s 1901 flag design failed in the past two legislative sessions, most recently by a 91-57 House vote in 2021.

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 the pine tree and blue star of the 1901 flag. 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.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: