COLOMBIA, SC – A bill that would allow government officials to take a holiday on June 16 or any other day instead of Confederate Remembrance Day was unanimously passed by the South Carolina Senate on Tuesday.
The bill began as a proposal to add the June 19 celebration to a new public holiday. But instead of adding a 14th day off, the bill will create a holiday that civil servants can use at any time.
In order not to spend extra money, the bill will remove Confederate Remembrance Day on May 10 from the list of holidays. If employees want this weekend, or Juneteenth, they would have to use the floating holiday.
The bill is now being sent to the House of South Carolina.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers told enslaved black people in Galveston, Texas, that they were free. This was two months after the capitulation of the Confederacy and more than two years after the signing of the Proclamation of Liberation.
Last year, the federal government recognized it as an official holiday.
In recent years, the celebration of Confederation Remembrance Day at the State House has attracted dozens of people raising the Confederate flag on a small pillar near the Memorial to Insurgent Soldiers in the Capitol.
South Carolina hung the Confederate flag on the Statehouse Dome for decades before moving it to the Capitol in 2000. Fifteen years later, lawmakers completely removed the flag less than a month after a recognized racist posing with a banner shot dead nine black people at an African-American church in Charleston.