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Federal Observance of Juneteenth is Today

Daniel Prince

Rep. Ralph Norman was one of 14 House Republicans to vote against the holiday

Today is the federal observance of the Juneteenth holiday. President Joe Biden signed a bill last year establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day. The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery in Galveston, TX, in accordance with President Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. The holiday was made a state holiday in Texas in 1980. On a national level, the holiday celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. The legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday unanimously passed in the Senate last year and was approved on a 415-14 vote in the House. Rep. Ralph Norman was one of the 14 Republican representatives who voted against the bill. Norman noted his opposition dealt with the name, saying that calling it Independence Day was wholly inappropriate. He also said creating another holiday would be expensive, saying it could cost over a billion dollars in federal payroll and holiday premiums.

US post offices will be closed, and mail will not be delivered today. Most banks will be closed, since the federal bank reserve will be observing the holiday on Monday. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will be closed and will not have active trading hours. Federal offices will be closed today, though the state does not yet officially recognize it as a holiday. A bill allowing state employees to take the Juneteenth holiday or any other day instead of Confederate Memorial Day unanimously passed the state Senate this year, but it never got out of committee in the House.

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