Senator STEPHEN M. SWEENEY
District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)
Senator SANDRA B. CUNNINGHAM
District 31 (Hudson)
Senators Addiego, Beach, Bateman, A.M.Bucco, Codey, Cruz-Perez, Cryan, Diegnan, Gill, Gopal, Greenstein, T.Kean, Lagana, Madden, Pou, Rice, Ruiz, Sacco, Sarlo, Scutari, Singleton, Singer, B.Smith, Stack, Turner, Vitale and Weinberg
Designates June 19, known as Juneteenth Day, as State and public holiday.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning legal holidays and amending various parts of the statutory law.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, freeing all enslaved people living in Confederate states.
b. However, it was not until June 19, 1865 that enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas learned that the Civil War was over, and they were free.
c. It is important to remember that neither the Emancipation Proclamation nor the end of the Confederacy freed all enslaved people, instead it only freed enslaved people in the Confederate states.
d. Enslaved people living in Union states that bordered the Confederacy were not freed until the ratification of the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865.
e. Additionally, Black Americans were not fully recognized as citizens until the passage of the 14th Amendment in 1868, and Black men were largely prevented from voting until the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870.
f. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, when word of freedom finally reached the enslaved people in Texas and jubilant celebrations evolved into a general celebration of freedom.
g. Juneteenth is also a reminder for all Americans of the hardships that Black Americans have endured for centuries in this country and an example of Black Americans often being the last to benefit from any change.
h. Despite the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments in the 19th Century, Black Americans were still fighting for civil rights throughout the 20th Century.
i. 100 years following the Emancipation Proclamation and the Reconstruction Amendments, Black Americans were fighting to pass civil rights reforms that would truly reflect the message and meaning behind that proclamation and those amendments.
j. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 were monumental achievements for Black Americans and yet another, long overdue step in their quest for equality.
k. However, over 50 years later, Black Americans still face oppression in many forms in the United States.
l. Black Americans are often viewed as “less than” by far too many in the United States, and this view of them is easily documented in reports on health outcomes, employment, housing, education, and incarceration.
m. For example, the number of Black Americans who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic is exceedingly disproportionate to that of other Americans.
n. Black Americans are also viewed as a threat by many in the United States, which often leads to unnecessarily combative and violent confrontations with police officers in the country.
o. While only accounting for 13 percent of the United States population, Black Americans are killed in over 25 percent of police-related shootings, often while unarmed and not committing violent offenses.
p. While many in New Jersey may believe this does not relate to the experiences of Black Americans living in the State, they would be wrong, as New Jersey has a long history of racism and discrimination.
q. One example is in schools where, even to this day, the vast majority of Black children in the State attend schools that are over 70 percent minority, segregating them from the white children in the State.
r. Designating Juneteenth as a State holiday may shed a light on the daily life experiences of Black Americans in this State and lead to progress, as the time has long passed for Black Americans to feel safe and equal in the United States.
s. Juneteenth can simultaneously serve as a reminder of how Black Americans are often the last to benefit from good news in this country and a promise to eliminate this gap in the future.
2. Section 25 of P.L.2008, c.89 (C.11A:6-24.1) is amended to read as follows:
25. a. Paid holidays granted to all State government employees each calendar year shall be limited to the following:
(1) January 1, known as New Year's Day;
(2) the third Monday in January, known as Martin Luther King's Birthday;
(3) the third Monday in February, known as Washington's Birthday, which shall be known and celebrated as Presidents Day in this State;
(4) the day designated and known as Good Friday;
(5) the last Monday in May, known as Memorial Day;
(6) June 19, known as Juneteenth Day;
[(6)] (7) July 4, known as Independence Day;
[(7)] (8) the first Monday in September, known as Labor Day;
[(8)] (9) the second Monday in October, known as Columbus Day;
[(9)] (10) November 11, known as Armistice Day or Veterans' Day;
[(10)] (11) the fourth Thursday in November, known as Thanksgiving Day;
[(11)] (12) December 25, known as Christmas Day; and
[(12)] (13) any general election day in this State.
b. The provisions of this section shall not impair any collective bargaining agreement or contract in effect on the effective date of P.L.2008, c.89. The provision of this section shall take effect in the calendar year following the expiration of the collective bargaining agreements or contracts covering a majority of the Executive Branch employees in effect on the effective date of P.L.2008, c.89.
(cf: P.L.2008, c.89, s.25)
3. R.S.36:1-1 is amended to read as follows:
36:1-1. a. The following days in each year shall, for all purposes whatsoever as regards the presenting for payment or acceptance, and of the protesting and giving notice of dishonor, of bills of exchange, bank checks and promissory notes be treated and considered as the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, and as public holidays, except as provided under subsection d. of this section: January 1, known as New Year's Day; the third Monday in January, known as Martin Luther King's Birthday; February 12, known as Lincoln's Birthday; the third Monday in February, known as Washington's Birthday; the day designated and known as Good Friday; the last Monday in May, known as Memorial Day; June 19, known as Juneteenth Day; July 4, known as Independence Day; the first Monday in September, known as Labor Day; the second Monday in October, known as Columbus Day; November 11, known as Armistice Day or Veterans' Day; the fourth Thursday in November, known as Thanksgiving Day; December 25, known as Christmas Day; any general election day in this State; every Saturday; and any day heretofore or hereafter appointed, ordered or recommended by the Governor of this State, or the President of the United States, as a day of fasting and prayer, or other religious observance, or as a bank holiday or holidays. All such bills, checks and notes, otherwise presentable for acceptance or payment on any of the days herein enumerated, shall be deemed to be payable and be presentable for acceptance or payment on the secular or business day next succeeding any such holiday.
b. Whenever any of the days
herein enumerated can and shall fall on a Sunday, the Monday next following
shall, for any of the purposes herein enumerated be deemed a public holiday,
except as provided under subsection d. of this section; and bills of exchange,
checks and promissory notes which otherwise would be presentable for acceptance
or payment on such Monday shall be deemed to be presentable for acceptance or
payment on the secular or business day next succeeding such holiday.
c. In construing this section, every Saturday shall, until 12 o'clock noon, be deemed a secular or business day, except as is hereinbefore provided in regard to bills of exchange, bank checks and promissory notes, and the days herein enumerated except bank holidays and Saturdays shall be considered as the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, and public holidays, for all purposes whatsoever as regards the transaction of business in the public offices of this State, or counties of this State, except as provided under subsection d. of this section; but on all other days or half days, except Sunday or as otherwise provided by law, such offices shall be kept open for the transaction of business.
d. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections a. through c. of this section, when the provisions of this subsection take effect, the following day each calendar year shall not be considered a public holiday for the purposes of conducting State government business:
February 12, known as Lincoln's Birthday.
All public offices of State government in this State shall be open on this day for the transaction of business.
(cf: P.L.2008, c.89, s.26)
4. Section 2 of P.L.2004, c.3 (C.36:2-80) is amended to read as follows:
2. [The third Saturday in] June 19 of each year is hereby designated as "Juneteenth [Independence] Day" in New Jersey to commemorate and celebrate the emancipation of African-Americans and foster respect for all cultures.
(cf: P.L.2004, c.3, s.2)
5. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill designates June 19 in each year, known as Juneteenth Day, as a State and public holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas to inform enslaved people of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and of their freedom. The announcement from General Granger led to celebration and jubilation, which has continued each year in various forms throughout the United States for over 150 years.