Michael Grieco brings back bill to end state-sanctioned Confederate holidays

Michael Grieco
Those holidays earned renewed scrutiny following nationwide social justice protests this year.

Newly-filed legislation from Democratic Rep. Michael Grieco (HB 6007) aims to stop three Confederate holidays from being recognized by the state.

Florida law designates former Confederate President Jefferson Davis‘s birthday on June 3 as a state-recognized holiday. The same goes for former Confederate General Robert E. Lee‘s birthday on Jan. 19. Confederate Memorial Day, on April 26, is also a state-sanctioned holiday.

The legislation from Grieco, a Miami Beach Democrat, isn’t the first attempt at removing those holidays from the books. Similar bills have been filed in recent years, but the GOP-controlled Legislature has not moved them forward.

State workers don’t earn a paid day off on those three Confederate holidays. Still, many have criticized the fact they are acknowledged under state law.

Earlier this year, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation commemorating Juneteenth, a day celebrated as the final end of slavery in the United States. DeSantis made the move following nationwide protests seeking social justice reforms.

House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee had pushed the Governor to make the declaration.

“The enslaved people of Galveston were the last to get the news of freedom, two and a half years after President [Abraham] Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was official on January 1, 1863,” McGhee explained. “Therefore, June 19 came to symbolize the freedom of all enslaved people of African heritage in the United States of America and has been celebrated ever since.”

That move, however, brought renewed attention to the Confederate holidays. DeSantis’ Juneteenth proclamation recognized the day, but did not elevate it to a state holiday.

Grieco raised similar concerns in a Friday statement promoting his legislation.

“As we have seen shift in how and who we formally celebrate, it seems only appropriate that Florida participate in the modern shifting views of the Confederacy and what it stood for,” Grieco said.

“By removing these ‘holidays’ from state law we are sending the same message sent by Mississippi voters when they changed their state flag last month.”

Following those nationwide protests earlier this year, Mississippi moved forward with a months-long process to remove the Confederate battle flag from its official state flag design. In early September an alternate design was approved to be put to voters as a Nov. 3 referendum. Mississippi voters followed through in the General Election, approving the new design as the state’s new flag.

Those backing reform have pushed states to cease commemorating the confederacy, including calls to remove Confederate statutes.

Grieco’s bill would simply amend state law to remove three sections listing those Confederate holidays. If successful, the legislation would take effect on July 1, 2021.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


6 comments

  • Professor Larry Gillis

    December 4, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Government should get out of the “celebration” business, picking this or that hero or event. Also, get out of the statue business.

    Leave it up to people themselves, maybe in conjunction with their employers.

    In the meantime, vote Libertarian.

    Larry

  • Ron Ogden

    December 4, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    Grandstanding.

  • Sonja Fitch

    December 5, 2020 at 8:23 am

    It is the beginning of the end of celebrating “slavery’. Facts not honor! The use of slave labor has and will always be here. It is part of ourselves we have to challenge and change from superiority to equal! Florida’s migrant crop abuse has as is still a part of our agricultural community. One step of elimination of “confederate holidays”. Is a beginning.

  • Mary Stevens

    December 6, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Florida’s beloved Senator and former Governor Lawton Chiles is rolling over in his grave. His beloved Mother was in Lakeland’d Daughters’ of Confederacy Chapter to honor their ancestors who defended Florida and the South when the North invaded to force the state back into the United States at the end of bayonet. The North needed the South as they received a big share of import tariffs received by the South that the North financed it’s infrastructure. Read Crittenden Johnson Resolution stating war would be over when South rejoined the Union. Read about the high Morrill tariffs the South paid that would cripple the South. The North owes the South for the war crimes of pillaging, raping, murdering and burning of thousands of homes, businesses, crops, and throwing dead animals into wells so the water would cause death or illness if drank. Many women, children and elderly were left homeless and starving.

  • Sam Corvala

    December 6, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    Typical Marxist.

  • David McCallister

    December 7, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Why can’t he think of something positive instead of raining on other peoples’ parade?
    He’s also a big fat pants-on-fire liar about Mississippi. The people of Miss. were NOT given a chance to vote to keep or change their flag. Last time there was a vote – they did vote overwhelmingly to keep their flag.
    He’s outing himself as such a hater. This is Confederophobia at its worst.
    He is a carpet-bagging New Yorker, NOT a Floridian.
    An embarrassment to the Democrat party.
    Don’t New York My Florida!
    Real Democrats aren’t racist bigots like Grieco.

Comments are closed.


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