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Rules Committee Advances Juneteenth Bill

Sen. Diane Capehart gaveled in the first meeting of the Senate Committee on Rules and Judiciary Thursday. (Photo: V.I. Legislature)

A bill adding Juneteenth as a legal holiday in the Virgin Islands advanced out of the Senate Committee on Rules and Judiciary Thursday.

The June 19 commemoration of when news about the legal end of slavery in the United States reached Texas — 30 months after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation — has been a federal holiday since 2021.

If passed by the entire Senate and signed by the governor, Juneteenth would be the territory’s 19th official holiday, the only one in June. Along with the 11 federal holidays, the U.S. Virgin Islands celebrates Three King’s Day, Transfer Day, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, VI Emancipation Day, D. Hamilton Jackson Day, and Second Christmas Day.

Earlier, the Committee advanced Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.’s nomination to the Virgin Islands Casino Control Commission, Luther Renee.

The Committee also advanced a bill honoring former Senator George Goodwin, known for his civil rights advocacy for immigrants. If passed into law, the cricket pitch in Nazareth, St. Thomas would be renamed for Goodwin.

Another bill advanced would rename the north-south street immediately east of Windward Passage in honor of former Senator Horace Callwood. And another bill advanced would honor Boyd “Boyzie” Orlanzo Todman for his influence on the youth of the territory.

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