AUGUSTA — Lawmakers are debating whether to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday.
Maine recognized the day that commemorates freedom being proclaimed for all slaves in the south in 1865 by making Juneteenth a state holiday in 2011.
If the bill passes, Maine will recognize the holiday for nonessential workers and will include a school holiday for elementary and secondary students.
“It is an important holiday, it is a critical day, It is something we should be honoring and remembering but I’m not sure a paid holiday is the way to go with it,” said Rep. William Tuell, R-Machias.
During a virtual meeting Wednesday, members of the legislature’s Committee on State and Local Government recommended Juneteenth become a paid state holiday.
It’ll be up to the full legislature to determine the bill’s fate sometime in the next few weeks.