The “Tri-star” – the centerpiece of Tennessee’s state flag – would be designated as the official “state symbol” under legislation filed by two Republican legislators.
Rep. Ron Lollar, R-Bartlett, the House sponsor, said Wednesday the idea is not to reject a new state logo developed for Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration earlier this year, but to simply put into state law a symbol that is already widely appreciated and recognized by Tennesseans.
The new logo, which cost the state $46,000, stirred controversy when revealed, but was put into use with a redesign of state government’s website in revealed.
Lollar said the governor “has every right to come up with anything for his administration that he thinks would improve government or help it operate more efficiently.”
“But we as legislators have every right to designate a state symbol,” he said.
Lollar said he told administration officials in advance of his plans for the bill and no objections were raised. Haslam said earlier that the new logo was in no way intended to replace the state flag or the “Tri-star” that is part of it.
The lawmaker was wearing a baseball-style cap bearing the Tri-star during a brief interview. He removed it, and holding it in his hand, declared “everybody knows what that symbolizes – it symbolizes Tennessee.”
The bill (HB1405), pre-filed last week for consideration in the 2016 legislative session, is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains. Lollar said that fellow legislators, when told of the bill, have so far uniformly expressed support.