2004 Regular Session
By: Representative Straughter
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 3-3-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE THIRD SATURDAY IN JUNE SHALL BE DECLARED TO BE JUNETEENTH NATIONAL FREEDOM DAY; TO PROVIDE THAT THIS DAY SHALL NOT BE RECOGNIZED AS A LEGAL HOLIDAY, BUT SHALL BE A DAY OF COMMEMORATION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 3-3-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
3-3-7. (1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) of this section, the following are declared to be legal holidays, viz: the first day of January (New Year's Day); the third Monday of January (Robert E. Lee's birthday and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday); the third Monday of February (Washington's birthday); the last Monday of April (Confederate Memorial Day); the last Monday of May (National Memorial Day and Jefferson Davis' birthday); the fourth day of July (Independence Day); the first Monday of September (Labor Day); the eleventh day of November (Armistice or Veterans' Day); the day fixed by proclamation by the Governor of Mississippi as a day of Thanksgiving, which shall be fixed to correspond to the date proclaimed by the President of the United States (Thanksgiving Day); and the twenty-fifth day of December (Christmas Day). In the event any holiday hereinbefore declared legal shall fall on Sunday, then the next following day shall be a legal holiday.
(2) In lieu of any one (1) legal holiday provided for in subsection (1) of this section, with the exception of the third Monday in January (Robert E. Lee's and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday), the governing authorities of any municipality or county may declare, by order spread upon its minutes, Mardi Gras Day or any one (1) other day during the year, to be a legal holiday.
(3) August 16 is declared to be Elvis Aaron Presley Day in recognition and appreciation of Elvis Aaron Presley's many contributions, international recognition and the rich legacy left to us by Elvis Aaron Presley. This day shall be a day of recognition and observation and shall not be recognized as a legal holiday.
(4) May 8 is declared to be Hernando De Soto Day in recognition, observation and commemoration of Hernando De Soto, who led the first and most imposing expedition ever made by Europeans into the wilds of North America and the State of Mississippi, and in further recognition of the Spanish explorer's 187-day journey from the Tombigbee River basin on our state's eastern boundary, westward to the place of discovery of the Mississippi River on May 8, 1541. This day shall be a day of commemoration, recognition and observation of Hernando De Soto and European exploration and shall not be recognized as a legal holiday.
(5) Insofar as possible, Armistice Day shall be observed by appropriate exercises in all the public schools in the State of Mississippi at the eleventh hour in the morning of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year.
(6) The third Saturday of June is declared to be Juneteenth National Freedom Day, in recognition of the oldest African-American holiday observed in the United states. This day celebrates:
(a) The announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation by United States President Abraham Lincoln issued on September 22, 1862, which provided that all persons held as slaves within certain designated states would be declared free on January 1, 1863;
(b) The passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on December 18, 1865, which officially ended slavery in the United States of America; and
(c) The communication to former slaves of African descent of the fact that slavery had ended, which became known throughout the nation by June of 1865.
Juneteenth National Freedom Day commemorates and recognizes the joy of former slaves when they learned of the message of their freedom, and this holiday is a reminder to all Americans of the contributions and legacy of Americans of African descent. This day shall be a day of commemoration and observation, and it shall not be recognized as a legal holiday.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.