Gov. Kay Ivey announced Thursday that she had authorized Friday, June 18 as a public holiday for state employees, following President Joe Biden’s statement earlier today establishing June as a federal holiday.
“All state offices will be closed on that date, except those in areas where retaining staff is essential,” Ivey wrote in the memorandum. “If it is necessary for an employee to work that day, they should be given time off as soon as possible thereafter. ”
Ivey signed a proclamation on June 10 declaring June 19 as June 17 in Alabama. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when a Union general read federal orders that enslaved people in Texas were then free, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The United States House and Senate passed legislation Thursday to make June a federal holiday.
U.S. Representatives Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, and Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, both joined 12 other Republican lawmakers in voting against the legislation, according to NPR.
Brooks told AL.com he thinks America should celebrate slaves earning their freedom with a federal holiday, but he doesn’t think June 19 is appropriate, and the bill “should have celebrated the Emancipation Proclamation or the passage of the 13th, 14th or 15th Amendments or the end of the Civil War, each of which would have been dates of national significance rather than a date allotted within a state.
APR’s attempts to reach Rogers on Thursday were not immediately unsuccessful.