Six months ago, members of a special commission unanimously agreed that Massachusetts should replace its state seal and motto. Now, time is running out for them to recommend what those replacements should be.

The commission has discussed various design elements — many of them nature-based, like pine trees, cod, chickadees and hills — but after more than a year of meetings, it hasn’t coalesced behind a concept. Now, the commission has newly awarded state funds at its disposal, but its slow progress is now running up against a Dec. 31 deadline that state lawmakers have not opted to extend.

Advocates for years have been pushing for Massachusetts to change its current state seal, which depicts a Native American man with a bow and arrow standing beneath an arm holding a sword. The state’s official motto says, in Latin, “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.” The Massachusetts flag bears both the seal and motto.

A law Gov. Charlie Baker signed in January 2021 created the commission to review the seal and motto, including any features "that may be unwittingly harmful to or misunderstood by the citizens of the commonwealth," and tasked it with recommending revised or new designs. The panel includes lawmakers, cultural and historical experts, and representatives of Native American tribes "with a historical presence" in Massachusetts.

The law originally set an Oct. 1, 2021, date for the commission to complete its work, but lawmakers twice pushed that deadline back after the group’s first meeting in July 2021. Commissioners were hoping to secure a third extension, until March 2023, to give them time to solicit public input.

While lawmakers removed language for an extension from the final version of an economic development bill enacted last week, that bill did allocate $100,000 to the commission.

“That puts us in a unique position, in a series of unique positions this commission has been in, to now have funds and very little time with which to expend them under our current charter,” commission co-chair Brian Boyles said Tuesday.

He said commissioners have been talking to lawmakers to figure out their options, including whether the money needs to be spent by the end of the year or whether it could be passed along to another to-be-determined entity to continue work the if the commission dissolves at the end of the year as scheduled.

At a virtual meeting Tuesday, commission members discussed the possibility of steering the money toward a survey that would gauge what Massachusetts residents want in a new state seal, or using it to hire a graphic designer. They did not settle on a plan, and co-chair Brian Weeden said the panel’s leaders would return with recommendations at a future meeting.

Beyond just its dwindling time frame, the commission could face an added challenge if it strives to find a new design that resonates with a large swath of the public. An October UMass Amherst poll found a mix of opinions on whether the state should replace its seal and flag at all, with 30% strongly opposed, 23% strongly in favor, and 25% neither for nor against.