Bill Text: MS HB494 | 2023 | Regular Session | Introduced

Bill Title: Juneteenth; designate as a legal holiday in the State of Mississippi.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 13-0)

Status: (Failed) 2023-01-31 - Died In Committee [HB494 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2023-HB494-Introduced.html


2023 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representatives Banks, Harness, Faulkner, Brown (70th), Clark, Evans (91st), Gibbs, Hines, Hulum, Mickens, Porter, Straughter, Thompson

House Bill 494


     WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that June 19, 1865, known as "Juneteenth," commemorates the true end to slavery in the United States when Major General Gordon Granger traveled to Galveston, Texas, and declared the joyous news of freedom from slavery, and 250,000 enslaved individuals in Texas finally learned that they were free, nearly two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln; and

     WHEREAS, Juneteenth is considered to be the longest-standing African-American holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States, and it has been celebrated across the nation for over 150 years in commemoration of the last enslaved persons' freedom, while emphasizing education and achievement, as well as inclusiveness of all races and ethnic groups; and

     WHEREAS, on June 15, 2021, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday, and this unanimous vote included "aye" votes from Senator Roger Wicker and Senator Cindy Hyde Smith; and on June 16, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the act with a vote of 415-14, with the "aye" votes including those from Representative Bennie Thompson, Representative Steven Palazzo, Representative Michael Guest and Representative Trent Kelly; and

     WHEREAS, forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have declared Juneteenth as a public holiday, honoring freedom, recognizing life and uplifting the complex history and beautiful culture of the African-American community; and

     WHEREAS, legal holidays in the State of Mississippi are purposefully few in number and recognize the most important milestones in our nation's history, and Juneteenth is certainly one of our nation's most important milestones, as it marks the true end of slavery in the United States, and should be declared a legal holiday in the State of Mississippi; NOW, THEREFORE,


     SECTION 1.  Section 3-3-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     3-3-7.  (1)  Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) of this section, the following are declared to be legal holidays, viz:  the first day of January (New Year's Day); the third Monday of January (Robert E. Lee's birthday and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday); the third Monday of February (Washington's birthday); the last Monday of April (Confederate Memorial Day); the last Monday of May (National Memorial Day and Jefferson Davis' birthday); the nineteenth day of June (Juneteenth); the fourth day of July (Independence Day); the first Monday of September (Labor Day); the eleventh day of November (Armistice or Veterans' Day); the day fixed by proclamation by the Governor of Mississippi as a day of Thanksgiving, which shall be fixed to correspond to the date proclaimed by the President of the United States (Thanksgiving Day); and the twenty-fifth day of December (Christmas Day).  * * * In the eventIf any holiday * * *hereinbefore declared legal shall falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the next following * * * dayMonday, or another day fixed by proclamation of the Governor as the day to celebrate the holiday, shall be a legal holiday.

     (2)  In lieu of any one (1) legal holiday provided for in subsection (1) of this section, with the exception of the third Monday in January (Robert E. Lee's and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday) and the eleventh day of November (Armistice or Veterans' Day), the governing authorities of any municipality or county may declare, by order spread upon its minutes, Mardi Gras Day or any one (1) other day during the year, to be a legal holiday.

     (3)  August 16 is declared to be Elvis Aaron Presley Day in recognition and appreciation of Elvis Aaron Presley's many contributions, international recognition and the rich legacy left to us by Elvis Aaron Presley.  This day shall be a day of recognition and observation and shall not be recognized as a legal holiday. 

     (4)  May 8 is declared to be Hernando de Soto Day in recognition, observation and commemoration of Hernando de Soto, who led the first and most imposing expedition ever made by Europeans into the wilds of North America and the State of Mississippi, and in further recognition of the Spanish explorer's 187-day journey from the Tombigbee River basin on our state's eastern boundary, westward to the place of discovery of the Mississippi River on May 8, 1541.  This day shall be a day of commemoration, recognition and observation of Hernando de Soto and European exploration and shall not be recognized as a legal holiday.

     (5)  Armistice Day (Veterans' Day) shall be observed by appropriate exercises in all the public schools in the State of Mississippi.  The superintendent of schools of each public school district is authorized to provide for the appearance of uniformed military personnel, uniformed veterans or the families of fallen military personnel/veterans at such public school exercises in honor of Armistice (Veterans') Day.  The superintendent of schools is also authorized to permit the school band and its director(s) at any public school in the district to perform at Armistice (Veterans') Day exercises in the school district upon the request of public officials or veterans associations without loss of any program credit by participating students and without loss of leave by participating school personnel.

     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.