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Should American flags be made in America?

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — Minnesota lawmakers are a step closer to attaching a made-in-the-U.S.A. requirement to American flags sold in the state.

A bill regulating the origin of U.S. flags awaits a Senate vote after getting through the Senate Commerce Committee on a closely divided show-of-hands vote Tuesday.

"If we are going to tout our patriotism by showing the American flag, the least we can do is make sure the flags are manufactured in the United States," said sponsor Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm.

The bill applies to flags sold on the retail level so it wouldn’t cover those that change hands at yard sales. A bill approved in March by the Minnesota House would regulate all flag sales.

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The U.S. Census bureau estimates that $5.5 million worth of U.S. flags were imported from other countries in 2005, with China producing the bulk of those.

The proposed law would go further than any other state that has tried to promote U.S.-made flags. Sen. Mary Olson questioned whether it would violate federal trade or commerce laws.

Olson, DFL-Bemidji, backed the bill anyway.

"I’m really concerned about the legality of this bill, although I support its theory," she said.

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