South Dakota gets on board for Juneteenth

Capitol News Bureau
KELO South Dakota capitol Pierre legislature

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Thousands of state and federal government employees will get a vacation day Friday to mark Juneteenth in South Dakota.

The action came after U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law Thursday federal legislation that had been passed this week making Juneteenth a holiday for federal government employees.

Saturday is June 19, but most state and federal workers will get Friday off.

Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive proclamation last year recognizing Juneteenth. Republican state lawmakers refused during the 2021 legislative session to make it a state holiday or a working holiday. Noem signed a proclamation for this year on June 14.

Her office announced the vacation day late Thursday afternoon. State law says state government follows federal law or presidential action or governor’s action on official holidays.

South Dakota previously was the last state in the nation that didn’t mark Juneteenth in some official way.

The last time the federal government added a national holiday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. South Dakota’s two U.S. senators at the time, Jim Abdnor and Larry Pressler, voted against King Day.

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