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Special Commission on Flag and Seal Receives Funding but No Extension

Somewhere deep in the fine print of the $3.76 billion Economic Development bill that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed today is a small line item granting the Special Commission on the Seal and Motto of the Commonwealth $100,000 to conduct public polling, to gather public input on possible elements of a new design for our state symbol, and to engage graphic designers or engravers in the work of producing mock-ups of what a new flag and seal for Massachusetts might look like.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is, as of yet, the legislature has taken no action on the Special Commission’s request for a three month extension on their Dec. 31st deadline to wrap up their work and present recommendations for a new flag, seal and motto to the legislature for action in the upcoming session, which begins January 1st, 2023.

That leaves the Special Commission in the unenviable position of trying to spend the much needed funds (which they requested months ago) expeditiously and wisely, yet still try to wrap up their work with only six weeks left in its current mandate.

To find out how it hopes to do that, interested members of the public are invited to attend the next meeting of the Special Commission virtually, on Tuesday, Nov. 15th, at 11 a.m. The meeting can be viewed live from the Hearings page of at that time.

In other news, on September 7th, Easthampton became the 55th city or town in the Commonwealth to formally vote in favor of changing the Massachusetts flag and seal. You can read about that unanimous vote of the Easthampton City Council in this front page Hampshire Gazette story from September 19th, here:

The next town to vote on a resolution of support for changing the racist flag and seal of Massachusetts will be South Hadley, which will consider the issue on Wednesday, Nov. 30th, at a special town meeting at the high school, starting at 6 p.m.

If you would like to help get your city or town to join the growing list of municipalities in Massachusetts that have voted in favor of changing the flag and seal, please get in touch through the “Contact Us” button on the homepage of this website.

Meanwhile, for those who might be interested, the story of the return of sacred artifacts looted from the bodies of the dead at Wounded Knee in December of 1890 and given back to the Lakota by the Barre Museum Association board of directors in a ceremony this past Saturday, November 5th was printed in short form in the Nov. 10th issue of the Montague Reporter. That story will posted in full to shortly.

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