Martin Luther King Day

Chronology of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
1968
April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated
April 8, 1968 U. S. Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) introduced the first legislation providing for a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday. Congress took no action.
1972
January 17, 1972 Arizona Sen. Cloves Campbell (D-South Phoenix) introduced in the State of Arizona 30th Legislature, 2nd Regular Session, S.R. 1002: “A RESOLUTION PROVIDING FOR AN ANNUAL STATEWIDE DAY OF OBSERVANCE HONORING DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING Whereas, the late Dr. Martin Luther King was an internationally recognized leader and a dedicated and enthusiastic participant in the movement for rights of all people in the United States; and Whereas, Dr. King was assassinated at the prime of life, and when his movement for human rights was beginning to prove fruitful; and Whereas, his contributions are of singular importance to the nation. Therefore Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Arizona: That January 15, Dr. King’s day of birth, be proclaimed as an annual statewide day of observance in commemoration of his undying ideas and practices for the human rights of all people.” The resolution died in the Senate Rules Committee.
1973
The first state King Holiday bill sponsored by then Assemblyman Harold Washington was signed into law in Illinois.
1975
Arizona Sen. Manuel “Lito” Peña (D-South Phoenix) and others introduced a bill to create a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. The bill passed in the Senate but failed in the House.
1976
A bill to create a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday was introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives but failed in committee.
1981
A bill to create a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday was introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives but failed in committee.
1982
A bill to create a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday was introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives but failed in committee.
1983
August 1983 The U.S. House of Representatives passed King Holiday Bill sponsored by Reps. Katie Hall (D-IN) and John Conyers (D-MI) by a vote of 338 to 90.
October 19, 1983 Holiday Bill sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.) passed U.S. Senate by a vote of 78-22.
November 3, 1983 President Reagan signed bill establishing the Third Monday of every January as the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday for Federal employees. (Public Law 98-144)
1984
A bill to create a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday was introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives but failed in committee.
1985
A bill to create a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday was introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives but failed in committee.
1986
January 20, 1986 First national King Holiday observed
May 9, 1986 A bill to create a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and combine the state holidays for Washington and Lincoln into a Presidents’ Day was defeated by a single vote in the Arizona House of Representatives.
May 18, 1986 Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt signed Executive Order 86-5 designating “the third Monday of each January as a holiday honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for all employees of Agencies, Boards and Commissions within the purview of the Executive Branch of the State of Arizona.”
June 2, 1986 Arizona Attorney General’s Opinion I86-032 (R86-071) concluded that “the Governor has no constitutional or statutory authority to declare a legal holiday that would be observed by closing state offices and giving state employees a paid day off….”
1987
January 12, 1987 Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham signed Executive Order 87-3 rescinding Executive Order 86-5 “since authority to declare state holidays lies with the Legislature and not with the Governor.”
January-February Several bills to create a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday were introduced in the Arizona Legislature but failed.
June 18, 1987 Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham issued a proclamation declaring “the third Sunday in January, commencing in 1988 and every year thereafter to be Martin Luther King, Jr. – Civil Rights Day in the State of Arizona….”
1988
June 30, 1988 In the final hours of the session, proposals to create a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday were killed in the Arizona Senate.
1989
January 16, 1989 Number of states which legislated a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday grew to 44.
February 2, 1989 A bill to create a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and combine the state holidays for Washington and Lincoln into a Presidents’ Day was passed by the Arizona House of Representatives but was killed in the Arizona Senate.
September 21, 1989 The Arizona Legislature created a paid Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and eliminated Columbus Day as a paid holiday.
September 24, 1989 Tempe architect, Julian Sanders and Italian-American groups launched a petition drive to force the referral of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday/Columbus Day issue to the ballot.
1990
May 17, 1990 The Arizona Legislature passed a bill which was signed within hours by Gov. Rose Mofford creating a paid Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr./Civil Rights holiday and repealing the elimination of Columbus Day as a paid holiday. Julian Sanders indicated that efforts were already under way to put the holiday question back on the November ballot. (Pat Flannery and Leslie S. Polk “Mofford Signs Bill Creating King Day: Law Perpetuates ‘Legacy of Justice” Phoenix Gazette, May 17, 1990, p. A1)
November 6, 1990 Arizona voters rejected Proposition 301 which would have established the third Monday in January as Martin Luther King, Jr./Civil Rights Day, a paid holiday for state employees and would have made Columbus Day an unpaid observance on the second Sunday in October. Arizona voters also rejected by a narrow margin Proposition 302 which would have established the third Monday in January as Martin Luther King, Jr./Civil Rights Day, a paid holiday for state employees and retained Columbus Day as a paid holiday on the second Monday of October. (Pat Flannery “King Day Narrowly Defeated: Angered Backers Cite Report on CBS” Phoenix Gazette, November 7, 1990, p. A1).
1991
March 12, 1991 The Arizona Senate passed, by a 25-4 margin, House Concurrent Resolution 2011. The resolution would put a proposition on the ballot asking voters to approve a paid Martin Luther King, Jr./Civil Rights Day holiday for state employees on the third Monday in January and merging the Washington and Lincoln birthdays into Lincoln/Washington Presidents’ Day on the third Monday in February. The resolution had passed the Arizona House of Representatives by a 40-11 vote. (Pat Flannery “King Day Plan Going on 1992 Ballot: Initiative Attempt May Be Dropped” Phoenix Gazette, March 13, 1991, p. A1)
1992
November 3, 1992 Voters of Arizona passed Proposition 300 which established a Martin Luther King, Jr./Civil Rights holiday on the third Monday of every January. (David Fritze “Arizona Passes King Day, Closing Chapter: State Frees Itself of Major Issue” Arizona Republic, November 4, 1992, p. A1).
1993
January 18, 1993 Arizona observed first statewide King holiday.   (Mike Padgett “King Day a First Step, Leaders Say: Mesa Next Target of Civil Rights Effort” Phoenix Gazette January 18, 1993, p. A1).
1999
June 7, 1999 Governor Jean Shaheen of New Hampshire signed the King Holiday legislation into law, completing enactment of holiday in all states.

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