Senate Passes Craig Bill Establishing Juneteenth as Legal Holiday
December 2, 2020
Today, state Senators Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) and Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) announced the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 334, which would make Juneteenth a paid state holiday in Ohio. Juneteenth commemorates the official end of slavery on June 19, 1865, when 250,000 enslaved people in Galveston, TX, learned of their freedom.
“We cannot lose sight of how far racial equity has come and how long the road is ahead for racial justice,” Craig said. “Ohio has a history of Black empowerment and I am heartened by the passage of Senate Bill 334 by the Ohio Senate. By declaring Juneteenth a paid state holiday, we can allow Ohioans to celebrate everyone’s independence and reflect on the spirit and hopes of American abolitionists, trailblazers, Reconstruction heroes and Civil Rights activists.”
Juneteenth, which is typically celebrated with historical activities, picnics and flag-raising ceremonies, is currently recognized as a state holiday or observance in 47 states, including Ohio. This bipartisan legislation would grant state employees in Ohio a day off each year on June 19, or on the Friday before or Monday after the holiday if it falls on a weekend, while still receiving their regular rates of pay. Texas is currently the only state that recognizes Juneteenth as a paid state holiday.
“I encourage my colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass this legislation so it can be signed by Governor DeWine before the end of the year,” Craig said.