Ron Johnson says he will no longer oppose 'strange' Juneteenth holiday

US Senate votes to make Juneteenth a holiday

US Senate votes to make Juneteenth a holiday

A signed copy of Emancipation Proclamation at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., which will mark Juneteenth, by displaying the rare signed copy.

The Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to pass legislation that would make June 19th, known as Juneteenth, a national holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the US.

In 1980, Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday.

After passing by unanimous consent, the bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where its passage is all but assured, then on to President Biden's desk for signature into law.

Federal lawmakers' efforts to make Juneteenth a federal holiday gained significantly more momentum past year amid the nationwide protests following George Floyd's murder by a Minneapolis police officer.

"The stakes are a little different", Mark Anthony Neal, a Duke University African American studies professor, told the New York Times last June.

Ivey's proclamation also comes as Alabama and other southern states continue to grapple with the push to remove monuments to the Confederacy, and rename buildings and schools named in honor of the Confederacy. It takes just one senator's objection to block such agreements.

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"While it still seems odd that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter", the Republican senator said in a statement Tuesday morning.

"Last year, a bill was introduced to celebrate Juneteenth by providing an additional paid holiday for 2 million federal employees at a cost of $600 million per year", Johnson said in the statement.

"While it still seems odd that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter". "Therefore, I do not intend to object".

The bill was only able to pass after Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and had 60 co-sponsors.

The celebration kicked off last Saturday and continues with daily events culminating with three separate celebration across the city this Saturday, June 19. It has been a state holiday in Texas for 40 years, and at this time another 46 states and the District of Columbia celebrate it in some way on the state level.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has officially declared Juneteenth an official paid holiday for city employees.

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