SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – A invoice making its way through the California state legislature would make Juneteenth a holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day a Union general arrived in Texas and “informed[ed] enslaved black people of their freedom and that the civil war was over,” according to a state analysis of the bill. The announcement came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Assembly Bill 1655 would allow state employees to take paid time off on June 19 or the nearest Friday or Monday if it falls on a weekend, as has happened this year .
The bill was introduced by Assemblymen Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Mia Bonta and Akilah Weber and passed the state Assembly 75-0 in May. It is now subject to Senate review.
Juneteenth would be the newest paid holiday in California since the creation of César Chávez Day in 2000 and is observed every March 31.
In 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill just two days before June 19 that established it as a federally observed holiday.
According to the Pew Research Center, although all 50 states have recognized Juneteenth to some extent, currently only 24 states recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday and give state employees a day off. Texas was the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday in 1980.
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