Washington State
House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
State Government & Tribal Relations Committee
HB 1016
Brief Description: Making Juneteenth a legal holiday.
Sponsors: Representatives Morgan, Lovick, Ryu, Wicks, Ortiz-Self, Berry, Leavitt, Johnson, J., Kloba, Shewmake, Simmons, Bateman, Lekanoff, Duerr and Fitzgibbon.
Brief Summary of Bill
  • Designates June 19, commonly known as Juneteenth, as a state legal holiday.
Hearing Date: 1/13/21
Staff: Jason Zolle (786-7124).

Juneteenth.  On June 19, 1865, more than two years after the effective date of the Emancipation Proclamation, people in Galveston, Texas, finally learned that the Civil War had ended and enslaved people had been freed.  June 19 has subsequently been celebrated as "Juneteenth" or Emancipation Day to commemorate the abolishment of slavery and recognize the contributions of Black/African Americans to society.  Forty-six states recognize Juneteenth as either a holiday or day of observance.  In 2007 the Legislature designated Juneteenth a legislatively recognized day as a day of remembrance for when slaves learned of their freedom.

State Holidays.  Washington recognizes 10 specific days as state legal holidays:  New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, Native American Heritage Day, and Christmas Day.  Another 17 specific days are recognized by the Legislature, but they are not considered legal holidays.  Some of those days commemorate specific events, such as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.  Other days commemorate groups of people, such as Korean-American Day, or certain ideas, such as Human Trafficking Awareness Day and Public Lands Day.

Summary of Bill:

June 19, known as Juneteenth, is designated a state legal holiday.

Appropriation: None.
Fiscal Note: Preliminary fiscal note available.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.