Florida lawmakers target Confederate holidays

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State Rep. Mike Grieco, D-Miami Beach, wants lawmakers to eliminate legal holidays honoring the birthdays of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, along with a Confederate Memorial Day.

Grieco on Thursday filed a bill (HB 6007) to remove the Lee, Davis and Confederate Memorial days from a list of legal holidays on the books in Florida.

A similar effort in 2018 was approved by one Senate committee but did not pass the Legislature.

It drew objections from people who argued the proposal would erase Southern history.

Lee’s birthday, Jan. 19, and Confederate Memorial Day, April 26, have been legal holidays in Florida since 1895.

Davis’ birthday, June 3, was added in 1905.

Florida is one of five states that continues to keep Confederate Memorial Day a legal holiday, though legal holidays are not necessarily paid holidays for public employees.

Other legal holidays that are not paid holidays include Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, Good Friday, Flag Day and Pascua Florida Day to mark the discovery of Florida in 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon.

Grieco filed his proposal for consideration during the 2021 legislative session, which begins March 2.