Passage of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

A United States federal statute honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and his work in the civil rights movement with a federal holiday was enacted by the 98th United States Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1983, creating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The final vote in the House of Representatives on August 2, 1983, was 338–90 (242–4 in the House Democratic Caucus and 89–77 in the House Republican Conference) with 5 members voting present or abstaining,[1] while the final vote in the Senate on October 19, 1983, was 78–22 (41–4 in the Senate Democratic Caucus and 37–18 in the Senate Republican Conference),[2][3] both veto-proof margins.

Passage of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleA bill to amend title 5, United States Code, to make the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a legal public holiday.
Enacted bythe 98th United States Congress
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as A bill to amend title 5, United States Code, to make the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a legal public holiday. (H.R. 3706) by Katie Hall (DIN) on July 29, 1983
  • Committee consideration by Post Office and Civil Service
  • Passed the House on August 2, 1983 (338–90)
  • Passed the Senate as the "A bill to amend title 5, United States Code, to make the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a legal public holiday." on October 19, 1983 (78–22)
  • Signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1983

Prior to 1983 there had been multiple attempts following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. to have a holiday created in his honor with Representative John Conyers introducing legislation in every legislative session from 1968 to 1983.[4] In 1979 a vote was held on legislation that would have created a holiday on the third Monday in January, but it failed to receive two-thirds support and was later rescinded following an amendment changing its date.

While attempts were made to have a federally recognized holiday, numerous U.S. states recognized holidays in honor of King. Connecticut did so in 1973. Illinois adopted a commemoration day in 1969, and made it a paid holiday also in 1973. Other states continued to adopt state holidays up through Utah in 2000.

HistoryEdit

NationalEdit

Prior attemptsEdit

 
United States House of Representatives vote on the bill
 
United States Senate vote on the bill

During the 90th Session of Congress following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, Senator Edward Brooke and Representatives John Conyers and Charles Samuel Joelson introduced multiple bills that would create a holiday to honor King on either January 15 or April 4, but none of their bills went to a vote.[5][6]

In 1971, Ralph Abernathy, the second president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a close friend of King, submitted multiple petitions to Senator Adlai Stevenson III asking for a national holiday honoring King on his birthday to be created.[7] On February 10, 1971, Senators George McGovern and Jacob Javits introduced a bill in the Senate to recognize King's birthday as a national holiday and issued a joint statement in support of it, but the bill failed to advance.[8] In September 1972, Representative Conyers introduced another bill in the House along with 23 co-sponsors; this was approved by the House Judiciary committee but was not voted on by the full House.[9][10]

On September 28, 1979, Representative Conyers introduced another bill to create a federal holiday in honor of King, and on October 19, Representative John Joseph Cavanaugh III stated that the U.S. House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service was planning to report the bill to the House floor.[11][12] On October 23, the bill was reported to the House floor, but Conyers later had the bill delayed on October 30 as he felt that the bill would not reach the two-thirds vote needed for passage, without the addition of amendments that could weaken the bill.[13][14] Representative Robert Garcia served as the floor manager of the bill and on November 13, the House voted 253 to 133 in favor of the bill, falling short of the two-thirds vote needed for passage.[15][16] The House voted to amend the bill to move the date of the holiday from Monday to Sunday by a vote of 207 to 191 on December 6, but the bill was rescinded by its sponsors and the Congressional Black Caucus later criticized President Jimmy Carter for not being supportive enough of the bill.[17]

PassageEdit

On July 29, 1983, Representative Katie Hall introduced a bill to recognize the third Monday in January as a federal holiday in honor of King.[18] On August 2, the House voted 338 to 90 in favor of the bill, passing it on to the Senate.[19] During the Senate deliberation on the bill, Senator Jesse Helms attempted to add amendments to kill the bill and distributed a 400-page FBI report on King describing him as a communist and subversive, leading Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan to throw the report on the ground and refer to it as garbage.[20][21] Senator Ted Kennedy accused Helms of making false and inaccurate statements, causing Helms to attempt to have Kennedy punished for a violation of rules that prohibit senators from questioning each other's honor. Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker only made Kennedy replace the word "inaccurate".[22] The Senate rejected an attempt to kill the vote by a vote of 76 to 12 on October 18 and later approved the bill by a vote of 78 to 22 on October 19.[23] President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law on November 2, 1983, and on January 20, 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time.

Congressional voteEdit

1979 U.S. House vote:[24] Party Total votes
Democratic Republican
Yes 213 40 253  (58.3%)
No 33 100 133  (30.6%)
Not Voting 30 18 48  (11.1%)
Vacant 0 0 1
Result: Failed
Vote By Members
Roll call votes on the 1979 Martin Luther King Jr. Day vote
Representative Seat Vote
Don Young No
Jack Edwards No
William Louis Dickinson No
Bill Nichols No
Tom Bevill Yes
Ronnie Flippo No
John Hall Buchanan Jr. Not voting
Richard Shelby Yes
William Vollie Alexander Jr. Yes
Ed Bethune Yes
John Paul Hammerschmidt Yes
Beryl Anthony Jr. Yes
John Jacob Rhodes Yes
Mo Udall Yes
Bob Stump No
Eldon Rudd No
Harold T. Johnson Yes
Donald H. Clausen Yes
Bob Matsui Yes
Vic Fazio Yes
John Burton Not voting
Phillip Burton Yes
George Miller Yes
Ron Dellums Yes
Pete Stark Not voting
Don Edwards Yes
William Royer No
Pete McCloskey Not voting
Norman Mineta Yes
Norman D. Shumway No
Tony Coelho Not voting
Leon Panetta Yes
Chip Pashayan Not voting
Bill Thomas No
Robert J. Lagomarsino No
Barry Goldwater Jr. Not voting
James C. Corman Yes
Carlos Moorhead No
Anthony Beilenson No
Henry Waxman Yes
Edward R. Roybal Yes
John H. Rousselot No
Bob Dornan No
Julian Dixon Yes
Augustus Hawkins Yes
George E. Danielson Yes
Charles H. Wilson Yes
Glenn M. Anderson Yes
Wayne R. Grisham No
Dan Lungren No
James F. Lloyd Yes
George Brown Jr. Yes
Jerry Lewis No
Jerry M. Patterson Yes
William E. Dannemeyer No
Robert Badham No
Bob Wilson Yes
Lionel Van Deerlin Yes
Clair Burgener No
Pat Schroeder Not voting
Tim Wirth Yes
Ray Kogovsek Yes
James Paul Johnson Not voting
Ken Kramer No
William R. Cotter Yes
Chris Dodd Yes
Robert Giaimo Yes
Stewart McKinney Yes
William R. Ratchford Yes
Toby Moffett Yes
Earl Hutto Not voting
Don Fuqua Not voting
Charles E. Bennett No
Bill Chappell Yes
Richard Kelly No
Bill Young No
Sam Gibbons Yes
Andy Ireland Yes
Bill Nelson Yes
Skip Bafalis No
Dan Mica Yes
Edward J. Stack Yes
William Lehman Yes
Claude Pepper Yes
Dante Fascell Yes
Ronald 'Bo' Ginn Yes
Dawson Mathis Yes
Jack Brinkley No
Elliott H. Levitas Yes
Wyche Fowler Yes
Newt Gingrich Yes
Larry McDonald No
Billy Lee Evans Yes
Ed Jenkins No
Doug Barnard Jr. Not voting
Thomas B. Evans Jr. Yes
Cecil Heftel Yes
Daniel Akaka Yes
Jim Leach Yes
Tom Tauke No
Chuck Grassley No
Neal Edward Smith Yes
Tom Harkin Yes
Berkley Bedell No
Steve Symms No
George V. Hansen No
Bennett Stewart Yes
Morgan F. Murphy Yes
Marty Russo Yes
Ed Derwinski No
John G. Fary Yes
Henry Hyde Yes
Cardiss Collins Yes
Dan Rostenkowski Yes
Sidney R. Yates Yes
Vacant Vacant
Frank Annunzio Yes
Phil Crane Not voting
Robert McClory Yes
John N. Erlenborn No
Tom Corcoran No
John B. Anderson Not voting
George M. O'Brien No
Robert H. Michel Not voting
Tom Railsback Yes
Paul Findley No
Edward Rell Madigan No
Dan Crane No
Melvin Price Yes
Paul Simon Yes
Adam Benjamin Jr. Yes
Floyd Fithian Yes
John Brademas Yes
Dan Quayle Yes
Elwood Hillis Yes
David W. Evans No
John T. Myers No
H. Joel Deckard Yes
Lee H. Hamilton Yes
Phillip Sharp Yes
Andrew Jacobs Jr. Yes
Keith Sebelius Not voting
James Edmund Jeffries No
Larry Winn No
Dan Glickman Yes
Bob Whittaker No
Carroll Hubbard Yes
William Natcher Yes
Romano Mazzoli Not voting
Gene Snyder No
Tim Lee Carter No
Larry J. Hopkins Yes
Carl D. Perkins Yes
Bob Livingston No
Lindy Boggs Not voting
Dave Treen Not voting
Buddy Leach Yes
Jerry Huckaby Yes
Henson Moore No
John Breaux Not voting
Gillis William Long Yes
Silvio O. Conte Yes
Edward Boland Yes
Joseph D. Early Yes
Robert Drinan Yes
James Shannon Yes
Nicholas Mavroules Yes
Ed Markey Yes
Tip O'Neill Not voting
Joe Moakley Yes
Margaret Heckler Not voting
Brian J. Donnelly Yes
Gerry Studds Yes
Robert Bauman No
Clarence Long Yes
Barbara Mikulski Not voting
Marjorie Holt No
Gladys Spellman Yes
Beverly Byron Yes
Parren Mitchell Yes
Michael D. Barnes Yes
David F. Emery Yes
Olympia Snowe Not voting
John Conyers Yes
Carl Pursell Yes
Howard Wolpe Yes
David Stockman Not voting
Harold S. Sawyer No
Milton Robert Carr Yes
Dale Kildee Yes
J. Bob Traxler Yes
Guy Vander Jagt Yes
Donald J. Albosta Not voting
Robert William Davis No
David Bonior Yes
Charles Diggs Yes
Lucien Nedzi No
William D. Ford Yes
John Dingell Yes
William M. Brodhead Yes
James Blanchard Yes
William Broomfield No
Arlen Erdahl No
Tom Hagedorn No
Bill Frenzel No
Bruce Vento Yes
Martin Olav Sabo Yes
Rick Nolan Yes
Arlan Stangeland No
Jim Oberstar Yes
Bill Clay Yes
Robert A. Young Yes
Dick Gephardt Not voting
Ike Skelton Yes
Richard Walker Bolling Yes
Tom Coleman Not voting
Gene Taylor No
Richard Howard Ichord Jr. No
Harold Volkmer Yes
Bill Burlison Yes
Jamie Whitten Not voting
David R. Bowen Not voting
Sonny Montgomery No
Jon Hinson No
Trent Lott No
Pat Williams Yes
Ron Marlenee No
Walter B. Jones Sr. Not voting
Lawrence H. Fountain Yes
Charles Orville Whitley Yes
Ike Franklin Andrews Yes
Stephen L. Neal Yes
L. Richardson Preyer Yes
Charlie Rose Yes
Bill Hefner Yes
James G. Martin No
Jim Broyhill No
V. Lamar Gudger Yes
Mark Andrews No
Doug Bereuter No
John Joseph Cavanaugh III Yes
Virginia D. Smith No
Norman D'Amours Yes
James Colgate Cleveland Not voting
James Florio Yes
William J. Hughes Yes
James J. Howard Yes
Frank Thompson Yes
Millicent Fenwick Not voting
Edwin B. Forsythe No
Andrew Maguire Yes
Robert A. Roe Yes
Harold C. Hollenbeck Yes
Peter W. Rodino Yes
Joseph Minish Yes
Matthew John Rinaldo Yes
Jim Courter No
Frank Joseph Guarini Yes
Edward J. Patten Yes
Manuel Lujan Jr. No
Harold L. Runnels No
James David Santini Yes
William Carney No
Thomas Downey Yes
Jerome Ambro Yes
Norman F. Lent Yes
John W. Wydler No
Lester L. Wolff Yes
Joseph P. Addabbo Yes
Benjamin Stanley Rosenthal Not voting
Geraldine Ferraro Yes
Mario Biaggi Yes
James H. Scheuer Yes
Shirley Chisholm Yes
Stephen Solarz Yes
Fred Richmond Yes
Leo C. Zeferetti Yes
Elizabeth Holtzman Not voting
John M. Murphy Yes
Bill Green Yes
Charles Rangel Yes
Theodore S. Weiss Yes
Robert Garcia Yes
Jonathan Brewster Bingham Yes
Peter A. Peyser Yes
Richard Ottinger Yes
Hamilton Fish IV Yes
Benjamin Gilman Yes
Matthew F. McHugh Yes
Samuel S. Stratton Yes
Gerald Solomon Yes
Robert C. McEwen No
Donald J. Mitchell Yes
James M. Hanley Yes
Gary A. Lee Not voting
Frank Horton Yes
Barber Conable No
John J. LaFalce Not voting
Henry J. Nowak Yes
Jack Kemp Not voting
Stan Lundine Yes
Bill Gradison No
Tom Luken Yes
Tony P. Hall Yes
Tennyson Guyer No
Del Latta No
Bill Harsha No
Bud Brown Yes
Tom Kindness No
Thomas L. Ashley Not voting
Clarence E. Miller No
J. William Stanton Yes
Samuel L. Devine No
Donald J. Pease Yes
John F. Seiberling Yes
Chalmers Wylie No
Ralph Regula No
John M. Ashbrook No
Douglas Applegate No
Lyle Williams Yes
Mary Rose Oakar Yes
Louis Stokes Yes
Charles Vanik Yes
Ronald M. Mottl Yes
James R. Jones Yes
Mike Synar Yes
Wes Watkins No
Tom Steed Yes
Mickey Edwards Yes
Glenn English No
Les AuCoin Yes
Al Ullman Yes
Robert B. Duncan No
Jim Weaver Yes
Michael Myers Yes
William H. Gray III Yes
Raymond Lederer Yes
Charles F. Dougherty Yes
Richard T. Schulze No
Gus Yatron Yes
Robert W. Edgar Not voting
Peter H. Kostmayer Not voting
Bud Shuster No
Joseph M. McDade Yes
Dan Flood Not voting
John Murtha Yes
Lawrence Coughlin No
William S. Moorhead No
Donald L. Ritter No
Robert Smith Walker No
Allen E. Ertel Yes
Doug Walgren Yes
William F. Goodling No
Joseph M. Gaydos Yes
Donald A. Bailey Yes
Austin Murphy Yes
William F. Clinger Jr. No
Marc L. Marks Yes
Eugene Atkinson Yes
Fernand St. Germain Yes
Edward Beard Yes
Tom Daschle No
James Abdnor No
Mendel Jackson Davis Yes
Floyd Spence No
Butler Derrick Yes
Carroll A. Campbell Jr. No
Kenneth Lamar Holland Not voting
John Jenrette Yes
Jimmy Quillen No
John Duncan Sr. Yes
Marilyn Lloyd Yes
Al Gore Yes
Bill Boner Yes
Robin Beard No
Ed Jones Yes
Harold Ford Sr. Yes
Sam B. Hall Jr. No
Charlie Wilson Not voting
James M. Collins No
Ray Roberts No
Jim Mattox Not voting
Phil Gramm Yes
Bill Archer No
Robert C. Eckhardt Yes
Jack Brooks Yes
J. J. Pickle Yes
Marvin Leath No
Jim Wright Yes
Jack Hightower Yes
Joseph P. Wyatt Jr. Yes
Kika de la Garza No
Richard Crawford White No
Charles Stenholm No
Mickey Leland Yes
Kent Hance Yes
Henry B. González Yes
Tom Loeffler No
Ron Paul No
Abraham Kazen Yes
Martin Frost Yes
K. Gunn McKay No
David Daniel Marriott No
Paul Trible Yes
G. William Whitehurst No
David E. Satterfield III No
Robert Daniel No
Dan Daniel No
M. Caldwell Butler No
J. Kenneth Robinson No
Herbert Harris Yes
William C. Wampler No
Joseph L. Fisher Yes
Jim Jeffords No
Joel Pritchard Yes
Al Swift Yes
Don Bonker Not voting
Mike McCormack No
Tom Foley Yes
Norm Dicks Yes
Mike Lowry Yes
Les Aspin Yes
Robert Kastenmeier Yes
Alvin Baldus Yes
Clement J. Zablocki No
Henry S. Reuss Yes
Tom Petri No
Dave Obey Yes
Toby Roth Not voting
Jim Sensenbrenner No
Bob Mollohan No
Harley Orrin Staggers Yes
John M. Slack Jr. No
Nick Rahall Not voting
Dick Cheney Yes
1983 U.S. House vote: Party Total votes
Democratic Republican
Yes 249 89 338  (77.9%)
No 13 77 90  (20.7%)
Not Voting 4 2 6  (1.4%)
Vacant 0 0 1
Result: Confirmed
1983 U.S. Senate vote: Party Total votes
Democratic Republican
Yes 41 37 78  (78%)
No 4 18 22  (22%)
Not Voting 0 0 0  (0%)
Vacant 0 0 0
Result: Confirmed
Vote By Members
Roll call votes on the 1983 Martin Luther King Jr. Day vote
Senator State Vote
Ted Stevens Yes
Frank Murkowski No
Howell Heflin Yes
Jeremiah Denton Yes
David Pryor Yes
Dale Bumpers Yes
Dennis DeConcini Yes
Barry Goldwater No
Alan Cranston Yes
Pete Wilson Yes
William L. Armstrong Yes
Gary Hart Yes
Chris Dodd Yes
Lowell Weicker Yes
William Roth Yes
Joe Biden Yes
Lawton Chiles Yes
Paula Hawkins Yes
Sam Nunn Yes
Mack Mattingly Yes
Spark Matsunaga Yes
Daniel Inouye Yes
Roger Jepsen No
Chuck Grassley No
James A. McClure No
Steve Symms No
Alan J. Dixon Yes
Charles H. Percy Yes
Richard Lugar Yes
Dan Quayle Yes
Nancy Kassebaum Yes
Bob Dole Yes
Walter "Dee" Huddleston Yes
Wendell Ford Yes
J. Bennett Johnston Yes
Russell B. Long Yes
Ted Kennedy Yes
Paul Tsongas Yes
George J. Mitchell Yes
William Cohen Yes
Paul Sarbanes Yes
Charles Mathias Yes
Donald Riegle Yes
Carl Levin Yes
David Durenberger Yes
Rudy Boschwitz Yes
John Danforth Yes
Thomas Eagleton Yes
John C. Stennis No
Thad Cochran Yes
John Melcher Yes
Max Baucus Yes
Jesse Helms No
John Porter East No
Quentin Burdick Yes
Mark Andrews Yes
Edward Zorinsky No
J. James Exon No
Gordon J. Humphrey No
Warren Rudman No
Frank Lautenberg Yes
Bill Bradley Yes
Jeff Bingaman Yes
Pete Domenici Yes
Chic Hecht No
Paul Laxalt Yes
Al D'Amato Yes
Daniel Patrick Moynihan Yes
Howard Metzenbaum Yes
John Glenn Yes
David Boren Yes
Don Nickles No
Mark Hatfield Yes
Bob Packwood Yes
John Heinz Yes
Arlen Specter Yes
John Chafee Yes
Claiborne Pell Yes
Strom Thurmond Yes
Fritz Hollings Yes
Larry Pressler No
James Abdnor No
Howard Baker Yes
Jim Sasser Yes
John Tower No
Lloyd Bentsen Yes
Orrin Hatch No
Jake Garn No
Paul Trible Yes
John Warner Yes
Robert Stafford Yes
Patrick Leahy Yes
Daniel J. Evans Yes
Slade Gorton Yes
Bob Kasten Yes
William Proxmire Yes
Robert Byrd Yes
Jennings Randolph No
Alan Simpson Yes
Malcolm Wallop No

StateEdit

AlabamaEdit

 
Governor George Wallace

In 1973, Coretta Scott King asked the Alabama Legislature to create a state holiday in her husband's memory on the second Monday in January and Representative Fred Gray, a former civil rights activist, submitted a law to create the holiday according to Coretta's wishes, but it was unsuccessful.[25] Hobson City, Alabama's first self-governed all-black municipality, recognized King's birthday as a town holiday in January 1974.[26]

The Montgomery County Commission voted 3 to 2 in favor of giving its employees a yearly holiday in honor of King on December 22, 1980. John Knight and Frank Bray were the first black people to serve on the commission after being inaugurated in November and voted in favor with Joel Barfoot while Mack McWhorter and Bill Joseph voted against it.[27] However, on January 5, 1981, the commission vote 4 to 1 in favor of changing it from a yearly holiday to a one-time observance.[28]

In February 1981, Governor Fob James sent his legislative program to the Alabama legislature which included a plan to decrease the amount of state holidays from 16 to 12, but would also give state employees the option of taking one day off for non-recognized state holidays that included King's birthday or the birthday of any other statesman.[29] On February 13, 1981, Representative Alvin Holmes introduced a bill to create a state holiday in honor of King, but nothing came of it.[30] On September 14, the Mobile County Commission approved a resolution to create a holiday in honor of King alongside an existing holiday honoring General Robert E. Lee with Douglas Wicks, the only black commissioner, submitting and supporting the bill and Jon Archer opposing it due to him favoring reducing the amount of county holidays.[31] In December the Montgomery County Commission voted 3 to 2 against giving county employees a paid holiday in honor of King with Joel Barfoot, Mack McWhorter, and Bill Joseph against it and John Knight and Frank Bray for it.[32]

In 1983, the all black Wilcox County Commission voted to give county employees a holiday for King's birthday while choosing to not observe Alabama's three Confederate holidays honoring Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Confederate Memorial Day as well as Washington's birthday and Columbus Day.[33] Representative Alvin Holmes created another bill that would combine Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis' birthday for a holiday in honor of King, but later submitted another bill that would only combine a holiday honoring King alongside Robert E. Lee.[34][35]

On October 21, 1983, Governor George Wallace announced that he supported Holmes' bill to combine Lee and King's birthday holidays.[36] The legislature didn't take action until 1984 when the Alabama House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of the bill, passed the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee with all six members in favor, passed the Alabama Senate, and Wallace signed the bill into law on May 8, 1984, recognizing Lee-King Day.[37][38][39][40]

Legislative votes
House votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No
1984 75 0 75
Senate votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No
1984 26 4 30

AlaskaEdit

On April 4, 1969, a resolution honoring King was submitted on the anniversary of his death, but the resolution was rejected by a vote of 10 to 8 in the Senate.[41] Following the federal recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day a bill was introduced in the Alaska legislature to recognize it on January 15, 1987, and Governor Bill Sheffield declared it as a holiday on January 20.[42][43] However, state employees were still required to work on the day leading to a union lead lawsuit that was ruled in their favor and the state was ordered to give $500,000 to its employees for overtime pay.[44]

Vote by Members
1969 Senate Resolution vote
Senator Party Vote
Nick Begich Democratic Yes
Christiansen Unknown Yes
Josephson Unknown Yes
Merdes Unknown Yes
B. Phillips Unknown Yes
Rader Unknown Yes
Elton Engstrom Jr. Republican Yes
Keith Harvey Miller Republican Yes
Lowell Thomas Jr. Republican Yes
Blodgett Unknown No
Bradshaw Unknown No
John Butrovich Republican No
Haggland Unknown No
Harmond Unknown No
Kostosky Unknown No
Lewis Unknown No
Palmer Unknown No
Kathryn Poland Democratic No
Bob Ziegler Democratic No
V. Phillips Unknown Absent

ArizonaEdit

Senator Cloves Campbell Sr. introduced a bill on January 15, 1971, to recognize King's birthday as a state holiday, but it failed to advance.[45] In January 1975, a bill was introduced in the senate to recognize King's birthday as a state holiday, and passed the Government and Senate Rules Committees and was passed by the Arizona Senate, but failed in the Arizona House of Representatives.[46][47][48]

 
Governor Bruce Babbitt

In December 1985, Caryl Terrell asked Tempe's city council to recognize King Day, but it was rejected by the Finance and Personnel Procedures committees.[49] On January 18, 1986, 1,000 people marched from the University of Arizona to El Presidio Park to honor King and in support of the recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day along with members of Tucson's city council.[50] On January 20, 1986, 5,000 people marched in support of King Day in Phoenix and heard speeches given by Mayor Terry Goddard and Governor Bruce Babbitt who criticized the state legislature for not declaring King's birthday as a state holiday.[51]

On February 7, 1986, the Government Senate Committee voted 4 to 3 in favor of advancing a bill that would create a state holiday in honor of King on the third Monday in January while derecognizing Washington and Lincoln's holidays.[52] On February 19 the senate voted 17 to 13 in favor, but Speaker of the House James Sossaman removed the bill from the agenda after multiple Republicans representatives complained about the bill.[53][54] The bill was brought back into the house's agenda, but Sossaman stated that it would most likely be defeated and the house voted 30 to 29 against the bill on May 9, 1986.[55][56] Babbitt circumvented the state legislature and declared the third Monday of January as Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a state holiday via executive order on May 18, although only executive office employees would receive a paid holiday.[57][58] However, Attorney General Robert K. Corbin stated that the governor did not have the power to declare state holidays and only the state legislature could do so although Babbitt stated that he would not rescind his proclamation and would only do so after a legal challenge.[59][60]


Proposition 300
Arizona Martin Luther King Jr. Day Amendment
Results
Response Votes %
  Yes 880,488 61.33%
  No 555,189 38.67%
Valid votes 1,435,677 100.00%
Invalid or blank votes 0 0.00%
Total votes 1,435,677 100.00%

 
Source: Secretary of State of Arizona[61]

During the 1986 gubernatorial election former state senator Evan Mecham ran on a platform that included the removal of the holiday that was established via executive order by Babbitt and narrowly won the election due to vote splitting between Democratic Carolyn Warner and William R. Schulz, who had initially run in the Democratic primary, but after dropping out and reentering was forced to run an independent campaign.[62][63]

On January 12, 1987, Mecham rescinded Babbitt's executive order causing Arizona to become the only state to de-recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day.[64] The following day presidential candidate and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson met with Mecham at a joint press conference after meeting for twenty minutes and asked him to reinstate the holiday, but Mecham refused and instead called for a referendum on the issue.[65] 10,000 people marched in Phoenix to the state capitol building in protest of the action on January 19.[66][67] On May 28, 1987, Norman Hill, president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, gave a speech in Tucson at the state's AFL-CIO convention where he stated that unions should tell conventions to boycott Arizona and stated that Mecham's decision "caters to bigotry and encourages polarization (of the races)".[68] The de-recognition resulted in $20 million in tourist business being lost due to multiple organizations canceling their conventions in protest, although some, like the Young Democrats of America, kept their conventions in Arizona.[69]

On January 19, 1988, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5 to 4 in favor of sending a proposal that would let voters decide whether to create a paid holiday in honor of King on the third Monday in January or an unpaid holiday on a Sunday, but the bill was rejected in the Senate.[70][71] Mecham was removed from office by the senate on April 4, after an impeachment trial for obstruction of justice and misuse of government funds. On April 14, the Senate Government Committee voted 5 to 4 in favor of a bill that would create a holiday in honor of King and combine Washington and Lincoln's holidays, but the Senate voteed 15 to 14 to reject the bill.[72][73]

Following the failure of the state legislature to pass a bill creating a state holiday for King, Governor Rose Mofford put forward three options that she would look into: issuing the same executive order Babbitt had issued, wait until after the elections to see if there would be a more friendly makeup towards a King holiday, or wait for a special legislative session to include a King holiday in the plan.[74] Mofford later stated that she would wait until after the elections to attempt to create a King holiday.[75] Due to the failure of the governor and state legislature to create the holiday, another movement to boycott Arizona was created with support from Jesse Jackson and Democratic delegates supporting it and planning to perform a demonstration outside of the Democratic National Convention.[76]

The Arizona Board of Regents voted unanimously on September 9, 1988, to create a paid King holiday at the three state universities that would give 20,000 of the state's 40,000 employees a paid holiday.[77] Arizona State University later chose to end its observation of President's Day and replaced it with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.[78]

On January 16, 1989, 8,000 people marched in Phoenix in support of the creation of a holiday in honor of King with Governor Rose Mofford, Goddard, and House Minority Leader Art Hamilton speaking.[79] On February 2, the state house voted in favor of a bill creating a paid state holiday, but Senate President Bob Usdane did not take action on the bill until March 30 when he sent it to the Government Senate Committee where it died in committee.[80][81] Democratic members of the House included the creation of a holiday inside an economic development bill, but the Commerce Committee voted 7 to 6 to separate the bills.[82]

Another bill was created in the Senate that would end Arizona's observation of Columbus Day in favor of King Day and it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with 6 to 3 in favor. The bill was passed by the Senate and House and signed by Governor Mofford on September 22, 1989.[83][84][85] However, on September 25 opponents of the holiday filed with the Secretary of State to collect signatures to force a referendum on the recently passed bill and submitted enough signatures in December.[86]

On March 13, 1990, the NFL had its annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, and one of the items on its agenda was to determine a host city for Super Bowl XXVII. Among the cities being considered was Tempe, and Arizona civil rights activist Art Mobley was sent to the meeting to make sure that the Arizona ballot initiative was a talking point at the discussion. The vote was conducted and Tempe was awarded the game, but committee chairman and Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman warned that if the King Day ballot initiative went against adoption of the holiday, the NFL would pull the game from Arizona and move it somewhere else.[87]

The bill eliminating Columbus Day was titled as Proposition 301 and another bill was passed by the legislature that would combine Washington and Lincoln's Birthdays and create a King Day was titled as Proposition 302. On November 6, 1990, both referendums were defeated with Proposition 301 being defeated in a landslide due to more effort being spent on Proposition 302 which was narrowly defeated by 50.83% to 49.17%. In March 1991 the house and senate passed a bill that would place a referendum on the creation of a King state holiday onto the 1992 ballot in an attempt to keep the Super Bowl in Arizona.[88] On March 19, 1991, NFL owners voted to remove the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix due to the rejection of both referendums. It was estimated that the state lost at least $200 million in revenue from Super Bowl lodging and $30 million from the numerous convention boycotts.[89] On November 3, 1992, Proposition 300 was passed with 61.33% to 38.67% and Super Bowl XXX was later held in Tempe, Arizona in 1996.

Legislative votes
House votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1986 29 30 1 60
1989 35 24 1 60
1989[a] 37 21 2 60
1991 40 11 9 60
Senate votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1975 16 13 1 30
1986 17 13 0 30
1988 14 15 1 30
1989[b] 17 11 2 30
1991 25 4 1 30
Vote by Members
1988 Senate vote[90]
Senator Party Vote
John Hays Republican No
Tony Gabaldon Democratic Yes
James Henderson Jr. Democratic Yes
Bill Hardt Democratic Yes
Jones Osborn Democratic Yes
Alan Stephens Democratic Yes
Peter Rios Democratic Yes
Carol Macdonald Republican No
Jeff Hill Republican No
Jesus Higuera Democratic Yes
Jaime Gutierrez Democratic Yes
John Mawhinney Republican No
Greg Lunn Republican Yes
Bill De Long Republican No
Hal Runyan Republican Not voting
Wayne Stump Republican No
Pat Wright Republican No
Tony West Republican Yes
Jan Brewer Republican No
Lela Alston Democratic Yes
Carl Kunasek Republican No
Manuel Peña Democratic Yes
Carolyn Walker Democratic Yes
Pete Corpstein Republican No
Jacque Steiner Republican Yes
Peter Kay Republican No
Doug Todd Republican No
Robert Usdane Republican No
Jack Taylor Republican No
Jamie Sossaman Republican No
Referendum Results
1990 Proposition 301 Results[91]
Choice Votes Percentage
No 768,763 75.36%
Yes 251,308 24.64%
Totals 1,020,071 100.00%
1990 Proposition 302 Results
Choice Votes Percentage
No 535,151 50.83%
Yes 517,682 49.17%
Totals 1,052,833 100.00%
1992 Proposition 300 Results
Choice Votes Percentage
Yes 880,488 61.33%
No 555,189 38.67%
Totals 1,435,677 100.00%

ArkansasEdit

In February 1983, the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Arkansas Senate before being signed into law by Governor Bill Clinton allowing state employees to choose to take a holiday off on Martin Luther King Jr., Robert E. Lee, or their own birthday.[92][93] In 1985, the state legislature voted to combine King and Lee's birthdays and stayed combined until March 14, 2017, when Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill separating the holidays.[94]

Legislative votes
House votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1991 66 11 23 100

ConnecticutEdit

 
Governor Thomas Meskill

A bill to recognize King's birthday as a holiday was passed by both the Connecticut House of Representatives and Connecticut Senate in 1971, but was vetoed by Governor Thomas Meskill, who had initially supported the bill, citing the cost of having another paid holiday with it being around $1.3 million.[95][96][97] The bill was reintroduced by Representative Irving J. Stolberg in 1972, and it passed in the senate again, but was defeated in the house.[98][99] Governor Meskill issued a proclamation in 1973 recognizing King's birthday and Representative Maragaret Morton, the first black women in the state assembly, later introduced a bill to create a holiday in honor of King, but it was shelved by the General Law Committee as they felt that Meskill would veto it again.[100][101][102]

Supporters of the King holiday created a petition and it had received enough signatures from legislators in February 1973 to force public hearings on a bill for the holiday. Although the law initially put forward by the petition failed, an amended version passed the house 124 to 17 in favor and the senate with unanimity, and Governor Meskill signed it into law on June 14, 1973, making Connecticut the first state to recognize a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.[103][104][105][106]

On March 4, 1976, Governor Ella Grasso stated that she would support moving the holiday from the second Sunday to January 15. The state legislature passed a bill to change the holiday's date and make it a paid holiday, and Grasso signed the bill on May 4, 1976, making the holiday fall on January 15 and as a paid holiday for Connecticut's 40,000 state employees.[107][108][109][110]

Legislative votes
House votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No
1971 97 41 138
1972 56 86 142
1973 124 17 141
1976 121 24 145
Senate votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No
1971 25 9 34
1972 17 16 33
1976 32 4 36

IllinoisEdit

Harold Washington, a state representative from the 26th district, introduced a bill to create a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1969.[111] The House executive committee voted to advance the bill, both state legislative chambers voted in favor of the bill and Governor Richard B. Ogilvie signed the bill creating a commemorative holiday in honor of King that would allow school services to be held in his honor.[112][113][114]

Washington proposed a bill in 1970 to make the commemorative holiday a paid legal holiday but was unsuccessful. Washington reintroduced the bill in 1971, and it passed the house with 121 to 15 in favor and the senate with 37 to 7 in favor, but was vetoed by Governor Ogilvie.[115][116][117] The Chicago Public Schools system started to observe King's birthday in 1972.[118]

In January 1973, Washington, Susan Catania, and Peggy Martin reintroduced the bill in the Illinois House of Representatives.[119] On April 4, the House voted 114 to 15 in favor of the bill, the Illinois Senate later voted in favor of it as well, and Governor Dan Walker signed the bill on September 17, 1973.[120][121]

KentuckyEdit

On January 15, 1971, Mayor Leonard Reid Rogers of Knoxville declared a holiday in honor of King in the city.[122] In February 1972, state Senator Georgia Davis Powers introduced a bill that would create a state holiday in honor of King, but it did not make it through the committee although they told Davis to offer an amendment to a holiday bill currently in the legislature.[123][124] However, Davis was absent when the bill came to the senate, but was able to offer an amendment to another holiday bill although the bill was defeated after her amendment passed.[125][126]

On January 15, 1974, Powers and Representative Mae Street Kidd proposed bills to create a state holiday in honor of King and both bills passed through each chambers' committees.[127][128] The Kentucky Senate and Kentucky House of Representatives passed the bill and on April 1, 1974, and Governor Wendell Ford signed it into law.[129][130][131] Although the King holiday was not officially paired with Robert E. Lee Day both days would occasionally fall on the same day whenever the third Monday in January was on the 19th.[132]

Governor Julian Carroll declared the first King Day in Kentucky in 1975, but state employees were not given the day off with Carroll citing an economic crisis as the reason.[133]

Legislative votes
House votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No
1974 50 6 56
Senate votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No
1974 30 1 31

MaineEdit

On February 13, 1986, a bill to create a paid holiday in honor of King was defeated in the house, but was later modified to make it optional and passed the Maine Senate and Maine House of Representatives before being signed by Governor Joseph E. Brennan and going into effect on July 16, 1986.[134][135][136]

Legislative votes
House votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1986 77 61 13 151
Senate votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1986 24 5 6 35

MassachusettsEdit

In 1974, members of the Massachusetts Black Caucus introduced a bill to recognize Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a state holiday, but it died in committee.[137] However, the bill was revived by state Senator Joseph F. Timilty who changed it to a half-holiday that would allow businesses to stay open, but governmental offices would close.[138] The bill passed both the House and Senate before being signed into law by Governor Francis Sargent on July 8, 1974.[139][140]

Legislative votes
House votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1974 160 53 27 240

MissouriEdit

On January 7, 1971, Mayor Alfonso J. Cervantes of St. Louis signed into law a bill that would create a city holiday in honor of Martin Luther King on January 15.[141]

New HampshireEdit

On February 11, 1999, Jesse Jackson spoke in Portsmouth where he stated that he was considering a presidential run and asked for New Hampshire to recognize a state holiday in honor of King.[142] On April 8, 1999, the Senate voted in favor of a bill renaming Civil Rights Day to Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day and was later passed by the House before being signed by Governor Jeanne Shaheen on June 7.[143]

Legislative votes
House votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1999 212 148 40 400
Senate votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1987 19 5 0 24

North DakotaEdit

Governor George A. Sinner appointed a commission in 1985 to coordinate the state's federal observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but state employees were not given the day off.[144] In 1987, a bill was introduced to recognize it as a state holiday and was passed by the House and Senate before being signed by Governor Sinner on March 13, 1987.[145][146][147]

Legislative votes
House votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1987 64 39 3 106
Senate votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1987 27 26 0 53

OhioEdit

On January 14, 1975, Cincinnati's city council recognized a city holiday in honor of King and approved a resolution in support of a statewide holiday bill created by state Senator Bill Bowen.[148] Bowen's bill passed the Senate and House before being signed into law by Governor Jim Rhodes on May 2, 1975.[149][150][151]

Legislative votes
House votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1975 57 33 9 99
Senate votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1987 24 5 4 33

WyomingEdit

Representative Rodger McDaniel introduced a bill in 1973 that would create a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., but nothing became of the bill.[152] Another bill creating a King holiday was introduced in 1986 by Representative Harriet Elizabeth Byrd, but it was rejected.[153] Governor Mike Sullivan signed an executive order in 1989 that would have Wyoming observe a holiday in honor of King only for 1990.[154] On January 2, 1990, the Albany County Commission voted to observe King Day for only 1990.[155]

A bill creating a holiday in honor of King that would end Wyoming's observation of Columbus Day was introduced in 1990. An attempt to change its name from Martin Luther King Jr. Day to Wyoming Equality Day was defeated by a vote of 32 to 29 although it was later renamed as Martin Luther King, Jr./Wyoming Equality Day as a compromise to allow it to pass.[156][157][158] The bill passed the House and Senate and Governor Sullivan signed the bill into law on March 15, 1990.[159][160][161]

Legislative votes
House votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1990 48 16 0 64
Senate votes: Vote Total votes
Yes No Not voting
1990 21 9 0 30

TimelineEdit

Timeline of Passage of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Year State Action Percent of states
April 4, 1968 Death of Martin Luther King Jr. 0.00%
June 18, 1971 Vetoed 0.00%
September 28, 1971 Vetoed 0.00%
June 14, 1973 Recognized 2.00%
September 17, 1973 Recognized 4.00%
April 1, 1974 Recognized 6.00%
July 8, 1974 Recognized 8.00%
1975 Recognized 10.00%
May 2, 1975 Recognized 12.00%
May 4, 1976 Amended date and paid 12.00%
1977 Recognized 14.00%
1977 Recognized 16.00%
1977 Recognized 18.00%
1978 Recognized 20.00%
1978 Recognized 22.00%
1978 Recognized 24.00%
1979 Recognized 26.00%
1982 Recognized 28.00%
1983 Recognized 30.00%
March 7, 1983 Recognized 32.00%
1983 Recognized 34.00%
1983 Recognized 36.00%
November 2, 1983 Recognized Federal Holiday to begin in 1986 36.00%
1984 Recognized 38.00%
1984 Recognized 40.00%
1984 Recognized 42.00%
1984 Recognized 44.00%
1984 Recognized 46.00%
1984 Recognized 48.00%
May 8, 1984 Recognized 50.00%
1985 Recognized 52.00%
1985 Recognized 54.00%
1985 Recognized 56.00%
1985 Recognized 58.00%
1985 Recognized 60.00%
1985 Recognized 62.00%
1986 Recognized 64.00%
1986 Recognized 66.00%
May 18, 1986 Recognized 68.00%
July 16, 1986 Recognized 70.00%
1987 Recognized 72.00%
1987 Recognized 74.00%
1987 Recognized 76.00%
January 12, 1987 Derecognized 74.00%
January 20, 1987 Recognized 76.00%
March 13, 1987 Recognized 78.00%
1987 Recognized 80.00%
1988 Recognized 82.00%
1988 Recognized 84.00%
1989 Recognized 86.00%
1990 Recognized 88.00%
1990 Recognized 90.00%
March 15, 1990 Recognized 92.00%
November 6, 1990 Referendum 92.00%
November 6, 1990 Referendum 92.00%
1991 Recognized 94.00%
November 3, 1992 Referendum 96.00%
June 7, 1999 Recognized 98.00%
2000 Recognized 100.00%
March 14, 2017 Separated holidays 100.00%

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Bill eliminating Columbus Day.
  2. ^ Bill eliminating Columbus Day.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "TO SUSPEND THE RULES AND PASS H.R. 3706, A BILL AMENDING TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE TO MAKE THE BIRTHDAY OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., A LEGAL PUBLIC HOLIDAY. (MOTION PASSED;2/3 REQUIRED)".
  2. ^ "TO PASS H.R. 3706. (MOTION PASSED) SEE NOTE(S) 19".
  3. ^ Dewar, Helen (October 20, 1983). "Solemn Senate Votes For National Holiday Honoring Rev. King". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Crawford-Tichawonna, Nicole. "Years of persistence led to holiday honoring King". USA TODAY. No. January 12, 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
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