House committee discusses bill that would make Juneteenth a state holiday
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Juneteenth may soon become a state holiday.
It became a federal holiday in 2021 after congress passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, and President Joe Biden signed it into law.
Rep. George Brown Jr of Lexington is sponsoring house bill 133, a bill that would make Juneteenth a state holiday.
Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, TX, in 1865 to ensure that all enslaved people were free. This came two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
“This is a very simple bill,” said Rep. George Brown Jr. “It’s recognizing some of the ills that happened in this country.”
In 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, Kentucky senators on both sides promised to make it a state holiday. But the bill was never filed.
Rep. Brown later filed the bill in 2021. He and other lawmakers say Juneteenth is a day we all can embrace.
“The most important thing is that it’s about freedom, the freedom for all people, and that the Declaration of Independence and the constitution of the United States applies to all of us,” said Rep. Derrick Graham.
Just moments after Rep. Brown sat down and started talking, law makers made a motion to vote on the bill. It passed out of committee unanimously.
House bill 133 now heads to the house chamber where more lawmakers will decide if it becomes a state holiday.
“I’m hoping that it will. I’m hoping that it will,” said Rep. Brown.
If the bill passes, Kentucky would join at least six states that have made Juneteenth a state holiday.
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