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Proposed legislation would make Juneteenth a paid holiday for Florida's government workers

A proposal filed Monday by Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Ocoee, aims to make Juneteenth Day a paid holiday for all state government employees.

The Florida Legislature in 1991 designated June 19 as “Juneteenth Day” to commemorate the freeing of slaves but did not mark the date as a legal holiday.

Bracy’s measure (SB 1164) was filed for consideration during the 2022 legislative session, which will begin Jan. 11.

While emancipation from slavery in Florida was proclaimed on May 20, 1865, Juneteenth marks the announcement of the end of slavery reaching all Confederate states. (May 20th is a paid holiday for Leon County government employees.)

Recognizing Juneteenth as a paid holiday would “further commemorate the announcement of the abolition of slavery and to recognize the significant contributions of African Americans to this state” and the nation, an introductory part of the bill said.

President Joe Biden this year signed legislation designating Juneteenth as a national holiday.