Senate passes bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

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Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who dropped his previous objection to the bill.

The resolution, introduced by Sen. House lawmakers are also expected to approve the bipartisan legislation. The bill's leading co-sponsor was Republican Texas senator John Cornyn, who wrote a statement on Twitter applauding the bipartisan approval of the measure.

Juneteenth began as a holiday in the State of Texas and is now celebrated in cities and states throughout the country as a special day of observance in recognition of the emancipation of all slaves in the United States. "Now more than ever, we need to learn from our history and continue to form a more flawless union", Cornyn tweeted.

Ivey's decision to honor Juneteenth comes after hundreds gathered in Birmingham on June 19, 2020, the summer that saw the proliferation of protests and demonstrations calling for an end to police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer.

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The Senate unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would make Juneteenth, the date commemorating the end of chattel slavery in the United States, a legal public holiday. "I just think it's kind of odd that now apparently the only way to do that is to give 2 million federal workers a paid day off, cost American taxpayers $600 million". The 2021 bill, titled the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, has 60 Senate cosponsors, including 18 Republicans, meaning it has sufficient support necessary to end a filibuster.

The Senate passed the bill under a unanimous consent agreement that expedites the process for considering legislation. "Although I strongly support celebrating Emancipation, I objected to the cost and lack of debate". "Therefore, I do not intend to object", he added.

On June 19, 1865, Union Army general Gordon Granger declared the abolishment of slavery in Galveston, Texas, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is a paid holiday for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington. In the decades since, every state but South Dakota came to officially commemorate Juneteenth, but only a handful of states observe it as a paid holiday.

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