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Maine House rejects effort to bring back old state flag

The new bill to bring back the old state flag, with its green pine tree and blue North Star set against an off-white background, was struck down Wednesday.
Credit: State of Maine / Maine Flag Company / Public Domain
Left: The original state flag; Right: Maine's current state flag.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Those hoping to see Maine's early 20th-century state flag replace the state's current flag will have to keep efforting the cause.

The Maine House rejected a bill Wednesday that would have replaced the current flag, featuring the state’s seal set against a dark blue background, with the flag that officially represented the state at the beginning of the 20th century, with a green pine tree and blue North Star set against an off-white background.

The old flag was Maine's official state flag from 1901 to 1909 before the one with the state seal replaced it. But in recent years, new popularity for the old flag surfaced. 

In addition to flying outside many homes and businesses, the 1901 version has been emblazoned on T-shirts and patches, sewn into hats, and, during the current pandemic, adorned the face masks of state political leaders.

“Maine people have embraced the 1901 flag,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sean Paulhus, D-Bath, said on the floor of the Maine House on Wednesday, according to the Portland Press Herald. “I have seen that flag on more houses than I do the current state flag.”

Paulhus’ bill did not set a specific timeline for installing the old-but-new flag design but instead called for existing flags to be replaced with the version based on the 1901 design when worn flags needed to be replaced.

Despite its popularity, lawmakers weren’t buying the latest political push to revive the 1901 flag. A vote to approve the flag-replacement bill failed on a bipartisan vote of 57-91 in the House.

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