New bill seeks to make Juneteenth an official Tennessee holiday

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 as the nation approached its second bloody year of the American Civil War. In it, Lincoln proclaimed, “that all persons held as slaves, within the rebellious states are, and henceforward shall be free.” But news traveled slow before the age of social media and 24/7 news. Or maybe the folks in Texas – the most remote of the slave states with few Union soldiers present to enforce the proclamation – drug their feet. Either way, slavery remained the status quo in Texas well beyond what was lawful.

That changed on June 19, 1865 when Union Army General Gordon Granger traveled to Galveston, Texas to publicly read federal orders letting all Black slaves know they were free. That day, became known as Juneteenth.

At first, June 19 was only celebrated regionally in Texas with church-centered community meals but eventually the holiday spread throughout the South and eventually the United States. Today, friends and families across the nation will celebrate with cookouts, street festivals, and public remembrances.

In Tennessee, Juneteenth is recognized as a special day of observance but not an official state holiday. That could change if new legislation passes the General assembly. On Tuesday, Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) introduced a bill that would make Juneteenth an official state holiday.

JC Penney, Target, Twitter, the NFL and others give their employees a paid day off to celebrate. Banks such as Chase and Fifth Thirds Bank will close early that day. This year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam will also give state workers the day off and say they intend to make the day a state holiday.

To voice your opinion, contact Moore County’s representatives Representative Iris Rudder at 615-741-8695 or Senator Shane Reeves at 615-741-1066. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Senator Bowling kills state deregulation bill

STATE NEWS — A week ago State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) introduced a senate bill that would remove state license requirements for over 25 professions. It was one of two companion bills. In the House, Representative Martin Daniel (R – Knoxville) introduced HB 1945 and in the Senate Janice Bowling (R – Tullahoma) introduced SB 1914.

A couple of days later Senator Bowling place her bill in a general subcommittee – effectively killing it. Any bill that passes the House must then progress to the Senate. If the bill remains in subcommittee, there no way for it to progress into state law.

The bills sought to remove licensing requirements for 27 different professions including: accountants, architects, engineers, landscape architects, and interior designers, barbers, cosmetologists, funeral directors and embalmers, contractors, home inspectors, plumbers, locksmiths, real estate brokers, land surveyors, soil scientists, auctioneers, those involved with pesticides, rental location agents, private investigators, polygraph examiners, individuals engaged with fire protection sprinkler systems, servicers of fire extinguishers and related equipment, alarm contractors, private protective services, geologists, tattoo artists, body piercing artists, real estate appraisers, and professional employer organization.

Supporters said that occupational licensing is an impediment to employment. Opponents say that consumers who are exposed to potentially dangerous instruments and harmful chemicals as well as those exposed to financial losses should remain protected. In particular, cosmetologist were very vocally opposed to the bill on social media and organized a Change the Bill Campaign. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}