Activists have pushed for decades to redraw the state seal found in thousands of places around Massachusetts, from police cruisers to municipal flagpoles to lawmakers' lapels, but the body tasked with rethinking that emblem has been slow to move toward any action — and on Tuesday, members began discussing yet another deadline extension.

At the start of 2021, lawmakers passed a statute calling for a commission to suggest alterations to the motto and the seal, which advocates have argued represents violence and oppression toward indigenous communities.

The seal currently in use, which dates to 1780, portrays an indigenous person on a shield. The crest above it features an arm holding a broadsword, which is also the state's military crest. The motto, displayed in Latin, is commonly translated as "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty."

But it now appears a new seal and motto may not emerge for consideration on Beacon Hill until sometime in 2023.

Authorized by the Legislature in January 2021, the State Seal Commission initially was impaired by a slow trickle of appointments to serve on the panel. Despite a requirement that appointing authorities make their picks in around two months, at its first meeting last summer not all members had yet been named.

An initial October 2021 deadline was extended to July 2022, and that was kicked farther down the road by an extension tucked into a spending bill this winter.

Now faced with a Dec. 31, 2022 deadline to send the Legislature recommended changes for the seal, some commissioners started talking Tuesday about extending their deadline into early 2023 for the practical purpose of serving up their report to the House and Senate at the start of the new legislative session.

Rep. David Vieira told fellow commissioners that if the panel files its report in December, it would be technically dissolved and unable to file any proposal with the new General Court when sessions begin in January.

"And so I think it might behoove us, maybe today, to relieve the pressure of an artificial deadline, and to really focus our work over this year, and making sure we do the appropriate public outreach, and that we have the appropriate recommendations in legislative form, that we look for a vehicle to extend the report deadline to Feb. 15, 2023," the Falmouth Republican said.

Vieira said, "So the idea is we'd complete it in 2022, but we'd give ourselves that window at the beginning of the next session to formally introduce legislation that we believe should begin the legislative process."

Nipmuc Nation member Brittney Walley voiced support for that idea, Rep. Antonio Cabral said it "probably would make sense," and Sen. Marc Pacheco said he would support an extension to "at least February."

Vieira said a deadline extension could be tacked onto either the fiscal 2023 budget or the mid-year supplemental budget that is currently awaiting action in the Senate.

There was some discussion last month about pushing for a commission report before July 31 to spur action on Beacon Hill before the end of this year's formal sessions.

Commission member Jim Wallace, who has lobbied at the State House for decades on behalf of the Gun Owners Action League, reiterated Tuesday why he sees that goal as impractical.

"You do not want something like this to get into the Legislature's hands the last week in July, because it is just a nightmare in there," Wallace said. "The last week of formal session, if anybody's ever seen that, and I've seen about 25 of them, it's just a nightmare. Because everybody in the world's trying to get their bill done before they adjourn for the rest of the year."

Cabral added that once the House and Senate see the group's report, they would need to hold a public hearing on proposed legislation, and the topic would likely call for floor debate and a roll call vote. He said he envisions the branches facilitating a "public conversation" next session.

"I just think, also, you've got to give time for the public to have an opportunity to look, and analyze, and feel comfortable with any recommendations that we make, before the Legislature actually is able, then, to move," said Cabral, who co-chairs the State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee.

The commission's February and March meetings focused on internal governance and setting up subcommittees on various aspects of the seal and motto -- meaning the meetings have not yet delved into actual analysis or proposed revisions for the emblems.

Brig. Gen. Leonid Kondratiuk, historical services director for the Massachusetts National Guard, on Tuesday urged his fellow members to get moving.

"It's important that the subcommittees meet, like, ASAP. I suggest before the end of the month. ... The main concern is, we need to meet, and we need to meet sooner," he said.

Those subcommittees are where the "substantive discussion" and "heavy lifting" of the commission's work will take place, said Michael Comeau, executive director of the State Archives.

But whether those meetings will be open to the public was left as an open question Tuesday. Several members indicated interest in seeking a legal opinion on whether the Open Meeting Law would apply to subcommittees, and whether they would have to publicly post and livestream those meetings.

Co-chair Brian Boyles said he hoped to gain "clarity" on Open Meeting Law requirements soon, so that the subcommittees dealing with seal history and design could meet and prepare presentations ahead of the next full commission meeting on April 19.

The other co-chair, Brian Moswetah Weeden, said next month's agenda will include a proposed deadline extension and further talk about subcommittees.