California Bill to Coordinate Celebrations of US’s 250th Birthday Moves Forward

California Bill to Coordinate Celebrations of US’s 250th Birthday Moves Forward

Crowds arriving at the 119th Fourth of July Parade in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 4, 2023. (Alex Lee/The Epoch Times)

Sophie Li

Sophie Li

4/20/2024

Updated: 4/21/2024

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In the lead-up to America’s highly anticipated 250th birthday celebrations in 2026, a bill aiming to establish the California Commission on the United States Semiquincentennial is progressing through the Legislature.
Senate Bill 1214, authored by Sen. Janet Nguyen, cleared the Governmental Organization Committee April 9 and is now set to be reviewed by the Appropriations Committee on Monday.
“Californians are patriotic when it comes to our history. We celebrate the Fourth of July every year and learn about George Washington and our founding fathers in school,” Ms. Nguyen said in a statement. “Winning the Revolutionary War against all odds was an incredible feat. Our nation had glorious celebrations to commemorate this in 1976 and I’d like to see California recognize this new milestone.”
Under the proposed legislation, the California commission would be mandated to “plan and coordinate commemorations and observances of the 250th anniversary,” as outlined in the bill.
Families watch the Huntington Beach Independence Day Parade in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 4, 2014. (Eric Zhang/The Epoch Times)

Families watch the Huntington Beach Independence Day Parade in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 4, 2014. (Eric Zhang/The Epoch Times)

The commission will consist of 11 members, including the state archivist, four legislators, five public members, and one historian.
While the state is grappling with a multi-billion-dollar deficit, Ms. Nguyen said the commission would rely exclusively on private and federal funds, managed through an account in the California Treasury.
This marks the Republican lawmaker’s third effort to advocate for the establishment of the commission. Both the 2022 and 2023 bills were held in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s suspense file for review of their fiscal impact.
In an interview with the Orange County Register, the lawmaker said the celebration signifies more than just a birthday, hotdogs, or barbecue; it serves as a reminder of the profound privilege of living in a democratic society.
Ms. Nguyen, now 47, reflected on her own background as a refugee, arriving in California by boat from Vietnam at the age of 5.
“There’s no other country where you have a refugee, who’s 5 years old, speaks no English, on government assistant programs, extremely poor when she arrived in America, to 30 years later, being able to walk into the Capitol as a state senator,” she said.
Since the federal government’s directive in 2016 urging federal lawmakers and states to prepare for the semiquincentennial, 42 states and U.S. territories have heeded the call by establishing official commissions.
A federal Semiquincentennial Commission has been formed as well, comprising eight members of Congress, 16 private citizens, and nine federal officials.
Crowds watching the 119th Fourth of July Parade in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 4, 2023. (Hau Nguyen/The Epoch Times)

Crowds watching the 119th Fourth of July Parade in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 4, 2023. (Hau Nguyen/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Dafa adherents walk in the 119th Fourth of July Parade in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 4, 2023. (Alex Lee/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of Falun Dafa adherents walk in the 119th Fourth of July Parade in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 4, 2023. (Alex Lee/The Epoch Times)

Rosie Rios, chairperson of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, voiced her support for the bill.
“I urge the California Legislature to support the legislative efforts of Sen. Nguyen,” Ms. Rios said in the same statement. “California’s vibrant history, diversity, and pivotal role in shaping our nation make it a critical part of commemorating the 250th anniversary of America’s founding.”
The state has experience with organizing patriotic celebrations.
In 1976, in anticipation of America’s 200th birthday, the Legislature established the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of California. The Fourth of July celebration was hosted in Huntington Beach, where Ms. Nguyen lives.
The city has been hosting an annual Fourth of July parade since 1904, now standing as the longest-running Independence Day parade west of the Mississippi and attracting hundreds of thousands of people each year.
Patriotic locals take part in the 4th Annual 4th of July Bicycle Cruise in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 1, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Patriotic locals take part in the 4th Annual 4th of July Bicycle Cruise in Huntington Beach, Calif., on July 1, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

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Sophie Li

Sophie Li

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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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