Florida lawmaker introduces bill to remove three confederate holidays from state law

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A Democratic Florida state lawmaker has introduced a bill to remove holidays in the state honoring the Confederacy for the third time in five years.

As local NBC affiliate WFLA reported, Florida state senate minority leader Lauren Book (D) filed the bill last week to remove such holidays from Florida state law.

In Florida, three holidays that honor the Confederacy are legally recognized: the Jan. 19 birthday of Robert E. Lee, Confederate Memorial Day on April 26 and the June 3 birthday of Confederacy president Jefferson Davis.

In support of passing her bill, Book said last year, "With all of the hate and divisiveness we see today, it's more important than ever to condemn racism."

WFLA noted that Book's proposed legislation will face intense opposition in the state legislature, as it has the two other times the bill has been introduced.

Other states, including Alabama and Mississippi, also recognize Confederate holidays such as Robert E. Lee's birthday and Confederate Memorial Day. While these days are legally recognized, they are not paid holidays. Some states combine Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Lee's birthday due to their close proximity, a decision that has frequently been criticized due to the two vastly differing causes the two men led.

Republican Florida state Sen. Dennis Baxley, who claims descent from a Confederate soldier, said it pained him that "people don't want to respect each others history," citing the "good, the bad, and the ugly."

However, other lawmakers in the state have spoken out against the fact that three Confederate holidays are legally recognized in Florida while Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the emancipation of Black slaves in the U.S., is not. WFLA noted that bills that would recognize Juneteenth as a holiday in Florida have been introduced by multiple lawmakers.

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