Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday in the United States last year by the administration of Joe Biden. But not all states have played along so far. Juneteenth continues to be an unpaid federal holiday in multiple states.

Most states in the country recognise Juneteenth as a holiday, at least on paper. However, the response has largely been limited to a handful of resolutions from the state legislature and proclamations issued by governors.

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At least nine American states have so far designated Juneteenth as an official paid state holiday. These include Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Lawmakers in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and other states failed to advance proposals this year that would have closed state offices and given most of their public employees paid time off for the June 19 holiday, Associated Press reported.

The obstructions have largely been seen in Republican-controlled states. A flurry of GOP leaders in state legislature have said that the idea of making Juneteenth a paid holiday has not received enough support.

The lawmakers said that many states already hold special observances for Robert E. Lee Day, Confederate Decoration Day and Nathan Bedford Forrest Day, according to reports from Associated Press.

In South Carolina, instead of working to approve Juneteenth as a holiday, Senate lawmakers unanimously advanced a bill that would allow state employees to choose any day they want to take off instead of the Confederate Memorial Day currently enshrined as a paid holiday in state law. However, the House sent the bill to a committee where it died without a hearing when the Legislature adjourned for the session.  

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This year, nearly 20 states are expected to close state offices and give most of their public employees time off.

Media reports suggest that at least 20 American states are expected to shut down state offices to mark Juneteenth and give their employees a day off.

California’s lower legislative chamber passed a legislation that would take similar action. Individual cities like Los Angeles have already signed proclamations making Juneteenth official.