Sen. Mike Crapo

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo

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Idaho's U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both Republican, have joined a bipartisan coalition of 48 senators in introducing legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. If S. 4019 passes, the federal government would observe the June 19 holiday in parity with Idaho’s existing recognition of the celebration.

“Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of ending slavery in the United States,” Crapo and Risch said in a joint statement released by their offices Thursday. “The period of slavery in America stained our nation’s promise of liberty and justice for all. Juneteenth celebrates an end to this shameful period, recognizes the contributions of Black American culture and marks a renewed commitment to ensuring the reality of equality and opportunity for all Americans.”

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Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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