The bill aimed at replacing Columbus Day as a state holiday in Colorado is headed to the governor's desk after the Colorado Senate voted 19-15 in its favor.
The Colorado House passed House Bill 20-1031 several weeks ago by a vote of 37-26.
If signed by Gov. Jared Polis, the bill would abolish Columbus Day and establish a new paid state holiday recognizing Italian-American humanitarian Frances Xavier Cabrini on the first Monday in October. Columbus Day, which is held on the second Monday of October, would remain a federal holiday, but the bill would remove state sanction of Columbus Day.
"Colorado has an opportunity to replace a holiday that is extremely painful for indigenous communities with a celebration of an Italian-American woman who has made an impact serving children in Colorado and beyond,” said Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver, who is one of the bill sponsors in a statement. “I’m proud that we took another step towards honoring indigenous voices and ending the cruel, yearly reminder of their painful past.”
In 1904, Cabrini established Denver’s Queen of Heaven Orphanage for girls, and in 1910 she founded a summer camp for the orphanage’s residents in Golden. She founded 67 education, health and spiritual institutions to serve the poor across the country.
Attempting to do away with Columbus Day as a state holiday has become commonplace in the Legislature in recent years, though none of the bills attempting to do so in previous years became law. This is the first bill to make it to the governor's desk.