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Good Question: What Does It Take For A Federal Holiday?

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A lot of you might remember the big fight as to whether Martin Luther King Jr. Day was worthy of national celebration.

So what does it take to become a federal holiday? Good Question.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation that made Martin Luther King’s birthday the newest federal holiday.

Congress has the power to declare something a federal holiday. The government is a huge employer, and all a holiday officially does is give those workers the day off. The same, however, can’t be said for the workers of private companies; the government can’t dictate the days on which they do business.

That’s why, essentially, there are so few federal holidays. They are very expensive for the government.

But that doesn’t keep lawmakers from proposing them. Over the years, more than 1,100 different proposals for federal holidays have been floated.

Some congressmen want Native Americans’ Day, others proposed Susan B. Anthony Day. And making Election Day a holiday is an idea many think would get more of us to vote.

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