2007 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Simmons
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 3-3-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DESIGNATE JUNE 19 AS "JUNETEENTH FREEDOM DAY"; TO SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE THAT THIS SHALL BE A DAY OF COMMEMORATION AND NOT A LEGAL HOLIDAY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
WHEREAS, the date of June 19 is known as "Juneteenth," and it is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States; and
WHEREAS, the commemoration of June 19th as Juneteenth specifically refers to the fact that, even though President Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the joyous news of freedom from slavery did not reach certain Americans in Galveston, Texas, until June 19, 1865; and
WHEREAS, Juneteenth commemorates freedom from slavery in America, emphasizes education and achievement, and is a time for reflection and rejoicing in the African American experience; and
WHEREAS, the celebration of Juneteenth is inclusive of all races, ethnicities, religions and nationalities, in that citizens across our country join hands in acknowledging a period in our history that has influenced our society--a great society that advances the ideals of liberty and justice for all; NOW, THEREFORE,
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) The following are not legal holidays for purposes of this section, and the commemoration, recognition or observation of such days does not authorize any state or local governmental entity or political subdivision to consider, recognize or declare such days as legal holidays:
(a) 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.
(b) 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.
(c) June 19 is declared to be Juneteenth Freedom Day in recognition and commemoration of June 19, 1865, as the date of the communication to former slaves of African descent of the fact that slavery had ended in America, and as a day when the ideals of liberty and justice for all citizens is celebrated. This day shall be a day of commemoration, recognition and observation and shall not be recognized as a legal holiday.
(4) 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.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.