Juneteenth States

FILE - In this June 19, 2020, file photo, demonstrators march through downtown Orlando, Fla., during a Juneteenth event. Congress and President Joe Biden acted with unusual swiftness Thursday, June 17, 2021, in approving Juneteenth as a national holiday. That sent many states scrambling to clarify their policies on the celebration of slavery’s end. This year alone, Juneteenth bills hit roadblocks in Florida, Maryland, Ohio and South Dakota. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Congress and President Joe Biden acted with unusual swiftness this week in approving Juneteenth as a national holiday. That shifted the battle to the states, where the holiday faces a far less enthusiastic response. Nearly all states recognize Juneteenth in some fashion, at least on paper. But most have been slow to move beyond proclamations issued by governors or resolutions passed by lawmakers. So far, only nine states have designated it in law as an official paid state holiday. The effort recalls the drawn-out battles over recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the 1980s. That was the last time the federal government designated a new holiday.

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