NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Juneteenth will become a paid state holiday this year, after the passage of HB 0317 by the Tennessee House of Representatives Thursday morning.
The House passed the bill with 61 votes in favor, 18 against and 10 members Present Not Voting. The Senate version of the bill passed 24-4 in March.
The bill, put forward by the ranking members of both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly, would change the state’s recognition from a “Day of Special Observance” to a paid holiday.
The move was put forward by Gov. Bill Lee, who previously told News 2 he felt it was “appropriate to commemorate Juneteenth with a state holiday, both to recognize an important day for freedom in America” as well as to become consistent with the federal calendar. President Joe Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday in 2021.
Lee also proposed making Juneteenth a state holiday in 2022, though the measure did not survive committees. It was instead made a day of special observance.
By making it a paid day off, it is expected to cost a little less than three-quarters of a million dollars each year, according to the estimated fiscal note. The General Assembly’s Fiscal Review Committee estimated the change would cost up to $691,890 starting in Fiscal Year 24.
The bill would take effect upon receiving the governor’s signature.