Bill making Juneteenth a MN holiday is headed to Walz

People gather for Juneteenth Celebration
People hold protest signs while marching down Penn Ave. N. during University of Minnesota sponsored Juneteenth Celebration in north Minneapolis on June 18, 2022
Tim Evans for MPR News

House lawmakers passed a bill Thursday night that establishes Juneteenth — June 19 — as an official state holiday.

It’s the date in 1865 viewed as the formal abolition of slavery in the United States even though it came years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth celebrations have occurred for many years in Minnesota, but the bill makes it one where no government business is conducted.

Rep. Ruth Richardson, DFL-Mendota Heights, said it’s an important milestone worth marking.

“It's also a step in the direction of truly living up to the promise of this nation that all are created equal,” she said. “It's an opportunity to acknowledge how far we've come and how far we have to go as a state and a nation.”

The bill passed in the House with no debate by a lopsided 126-1 vote.

It previously won passage by the Senate and Gov. Tim Walz will sign it on Friday.

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