State rep to propose time limits on flags at half-staff, after Vernon Hills request

  • The American flag at the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills remains at half-staff. Vernon Hills officials have asked Gov. J.B. Pritzker to end a state directive to lower flags to half-staff to honor those who have died in Illinois from COVID-19.

      The American flag at the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills remains at half-staff. Vernon Hills officials have asked Gov. J.B. Pritzker to end a state directive to lower flags to half-staff to honor those who have died in Illinois from COVID-19. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/2/2021 6:44 PM

State Rep. Dan Didech says he'll introduce legislation to create guidelines regarding the display of the American flag.

The proposal follows a letter sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker from Vernon Hills Mayor Roger Byrne saying a state directive to fly the American flag at half-staff to honor those who've died in Illinois from COVID-19 has run its course.

 

Didech, a Buffalo Grove resident who represents the 59th District, says the legislation would be modeled after federal code that sets time limits on how long the flag can be displayed at half-staff. Putting time limits in place as amendments to the Illinois Flag Display Act would ensure "everybody who should be respected feels respected," he said.

Didech said he would introduce legislation soon after the 102nd General Assembly convenes Jan. 13.

It notes that lowering the flag historically has been reserved to recognize military members and first responders who died in the line of duty or the death of a notable public service.

In April, Pritzker directed that American and state flags be lowered to half-staff to honor those who died from COVID-19 in Illinois.

Village officials said that practice has continued long enough and residents have become numb to the gesture. Since vaccines have been approved and are being administered, the flag should again be raised as a symbol of hope going forward, Byrne wrote.

Didech said his pending proposal won't be tailored specifically to the COVID situation.

"It's going to be more forward looking," he said.

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