Washington bill proposes making Juneteenth a state holiday

What is Juneteenth?

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A bill put forward by several members of Washington State’s House of Representatives earlier this year proposes making Juneteenth a state holiday.

Juneteenth, or Black Independence Day, commemorates the day when black slaves were legally freed in the United States and is celebrated annually on June 19.

As it stands, Juneteenth is an observed holiday in Washington, but is not an official state holiday. It is observed in all but four states (Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana).

Up until this week, Texas was the only state that acknowledged Juneteenth as a state holiday. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order on Wednesday recognizing it as a holiday for state employees.

The locally proposed bill suggests doing the same, making it a paid day off for state employees. If passed, the bill would also formally recognize February as Black History Month.

Read the bill here.

RELATED: How to celebrate Juneteenth in the Inland Northwest