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Virginia Senate passes bill removing Lee-Jackson Day as holiday, replacing with Election Day

If the legislation is passed by the House and Governor Northam, Lee-Jackson Day will no longer be a state holiday. Election day will take its place.

RICHMOND, Va. — Several days after the holiday, the Virginia Senate passed a bill that would remove Lee-Jackson Day as a state holiday. If fully passed, the legislation would replace the statewide holiday with Election Day in November.

The bill, SB 601, passed by a 22 to 18 vote on Tuesday.

The origins of Lee-Jackson Day date back over 100 years. The Virginia General Assembly designated Confederate General Robert E. Lee's birthday as a holiday back in 1890, according to the Richmond-Times Dispatch

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In 1904, the Assembly made the holiday Lee-Jackson Day, to honor another Confederate general, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. 

Then 80 years later President Ronald Reagan signed a bill establishing a national holiday to celebrate civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The following year the Virginia Legislature combined King's celebration with the state's holiday honoring the two Confederate generals, forming the incongruous "Lee-Jackson-King Day."

In 2000, those two celebrations were separated.

Since then, Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on the third Monday in January, while Lee-Jackson Day falls on the preceding Friday. 

If passed by the House of Delegates and Governor Ralph Northam, the bill would create a holiday on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November as a state holiday.

View the full legislation below:

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