California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill officially recognizing Lunar New Year as a state holiday.
Assembly Bill (AB) 2596, authored by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell), was among the number of bills Newsom passed before the Friday midnight deadline.
The new state law authorizes any state employee to receive eight hours of holiday credit rather than personal holiday credit and utilize eight hours of vacation, annual leave or compensating time off to observe the Lunar New Year.
With the addition of the Lunar New Year, California now has three new state holidays, including Juneteenth and Genocide Remembrance Day.
“The Lunar New Year celebrates a chance to leave behind the troubles of the past year and invite prosperity and good luck moving forward,” Newsom wrote in his signing message. “Recognizing this day as a state holiday acknowledges the diversity and cultural significance Asian Americans bring to California and provides an opportunity for all Californians to participate in the significance of the Lunar New Year.”
According to Newsom, he is “immensely proud of the richness of diversity and backgrounds represented in our state and understand the importance of wanting to see one’s own experience reflected in state holidays.”
The Lunar New Year, which usually takes place at the end of January or the beginning of February, is predominantly celebrated by Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other Asian communities. Based on the lunar calendar, the special event marks the arrival of spring.