NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A bipartisan bill that would make Juneteenth an official state holiday in Tennessee has stalled for the remainder of the legislative session.
The measure, which would legally commemorate the emancipation of slaves, passed a Senate committee Tuesday morning and was headed for a full senate vote.
A House panel then took the bill “off notice” shortly after, essentially stalling it for the remainder of the session.
June 19th celebrates when slaves in Galveston, Texas were freed, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. It was recently passed as a federal holiday.
The legislation from Governor Bill Lee to make Juneteenth a holiday in Tennessee was going through the committee process. “There’s a federal holiday there and in order to be consistent with that very important day in our country’s history we felt it important to have a state holiday as well,” Lee said.
The bill was being carried by House Democratic Minority Leader Karen Camper.
“I was really appreciative of him deciding it was important to not only observe the holiday but to make it an official day off and actually fund it in the budget,” Camper told News 2’s Capitol Newsroom Reporter Gerald Harris.
There are currently 11 state holidays in Tennessee. Most state holidays come at a cost to taxpayers due to state employee compensation, and Juneteenth would have been no different, costing Tennessee an estimated $474,000 per year.