HONOLULU (KHON2) — Governor David Ige held a news conference on Wednesday to sign five bills into law, one of which officially recognizes Juneteenth Day in Hawaii as a day of observance.
Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day,” commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865. While the Emancipation Proclamation initially freed slaves in the South in 1863, it wasn’t enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War two years later. According to historians, word of the Confederacy’s surrender didn’t reach the last enslaved Black people until June 19, when Union soldiers brought news of freedom to Galveston, Texas.
Following the bill signing, South Dakota will remain the only state that doesn’t recognize the day as either a state holiday or a day of observance.
The other bills being signed by Gov. Ige are of no less importance. The first designates January of each year as Kalaupapa Month, while the others address securities for vulnerable adults, repealing minimum wage exemptions for individuals with disabilities and improve consumer protection for installment loans.