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Missouri state offices to close Friday for Juneteenth

Missouri state offices to close Friday for Juneteenth

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JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri state offices will close Friday in recognition of a new federal law establishing Juneteenth as a government holiday.

Gov. Mike Parson joined other governors in ordering the closure, which will give state employees a paid day of leave.

Some state workers will remain on the job because their duties call for them to oversee prisons, provide law enforcement or care for developmentally disabled residents.

The decision to close for the day came quickly.

President Joe Biden signed the measure Thursday, after Congress this week sent a bill commemorating June 19, 1865, as a holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. 

Because the 19th falls on a Saturday this year, the holiday is being observed on Friday. It is the 14th paid holiday for state workers.

The Republican governor's action mirrors his counterpart in Nebraska. In Illinois, state lawmakers approved the day as a holiday in May. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed it into law on Wednesday, but it won't become a day off for Illinois workers until 2023.

The day marks an event in which Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983.

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