Walz signs bill establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday

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Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill Friday morning to establish Juneteenth as an official state holiday.

The holiday is celebrated every year on June 19, and commemorates the day in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas and read a statement proclaiming the slaves were free — nearly two years after Congress had abolished slavery.

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, the legislation passed by a vote of 126-1 in the Minnesota House Thursday night. The Minnesota Senate approved the bill 57-8 last week.

The signing made Juneteenth the 12th state holiday and Minnesota the 26th state to recognize it as a holiday. June 19 became a federal holiday in 2021, and many local governments, school districts and companies based in Minnesota already recognize the holiday.

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Shortly before signing that bill, Walz ceremonially signed the CROWN Act Friday morning. He officially signed the bill into law earlier this week.

The CROWN Act makes it illegal for places such as schools and workplaces to discriminate against someone based on their natural hair texture or hairstyle, such as braids, locs and twists.

The bill was approved by the Minnesota House in 2020 and 2022 but stalled in the Senate both years. This year, the House approved it a week into the session and the Senate gave it final approval last week.

Follow the progress of other notable bills with our Legislative Tracker.