Washington’s largest county moves to make Juneteenth holiday

SEATTLE — Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, is likely to become an official paid holiday for King County employees, under legislation advanced by the Metropolitan King County Council on Tuesday.

A county council committee, made up of every member of the county council, voted 5-1 to add Juneteenth to the county’s slate of 10 paid holidays, the Seattle Times reported. The full county council still must approve the legislation.

Celebrated on June 19, Juneteenth marks the day that Union soldiers arrived in Texas in 1865 and announced all enslaved people had been freed. The Emancipation Proclamation had, on paper, freed enslaved people over two years before, but the news, and Union soldiers to enforce the change, had not reached Texas.

Washington is already one of 47 states that recognizes Juneteenth as a holiday, but it is not a paid day off. This year, Virginia, New York and the city of Portland made Juneteenth a paid day off for government employees.

Making Juneteenth a paid holiday for the county’s approximately 15,000 employees will cost about $4.8 million a year, according to a county analysis, mostly in overtime costs for bus drivers, correctional officers and other employees who will need to work on the holiday.

Teen parents plead not guilty in infant’s death

BILLINGS, Mont. — Teenage parents are facing homicide charges in the death of their infant.

Samantha May Hance, 19, and a 16-year-old boy pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide in Yellowstone County District Court on Friday, the Billings Gazette reported.

In both cases, Judge Ashley Harada continued bail at $500,000, after arrest warrants were issued in that amount. Because the boy charged is a juvenile, the case will require a hearing to decide whether it should be transferred to youth court.

The 8-week-old infant died March 27. An autopsy showed broken ribs, collar bone and arms, according to charges. The medical examiner determined the baby died from neglect.

Both Hance and the boy told investigators they were unaware of any physical abuse of the baby, but Hance acknowledged she’d seen her boyfriend treat the baby roughly, charges said. When asked about the broken bones, she told police that if she had to guess, she would attribute the fractures to her boyfriend.

He denied neglecting or abusing the baby in an interview with detectives.

Investigators reviewed text messages between the parents in which he apologized for taking out his anger on Hance and the baby, and Hance warned him to be less aggressive with the baby, charges said.

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