North Dakota is only one of three states that does not recognize Juneteenth as a holiday — and that is the very reason behind Senate Bill 2232.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, celebrates the emancipation of slaves in the United States.
If passed, the bill would allow the state, as a whole, to recognize the day as a ceremonial holiday.
It would not be a legal holiday, meaning school, work and government offices would still remain open.
The sponsors of the bill say an emergency clause has been added, which would allow the holiday to be recognized immediately.
“I ask for a yes vote. Establishing Juneteenth will help our citizens learn more about our history and take another step in understanding each other,” explained Sen. Tim Mathern.
Representatives, during Thursday’s hearing, brought up questions about other ethnicities who have been enslaved, North Dakota not being a state during slavery and it causing a possible division.
No actions were taken by the House Committee.