HELENA – This year marks 25 years since Montana began celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a state holiday.

It was the end of January in 1991 when lawmakers of Montana’s 52nd legislative session met to hear testimony on the bill to make the third Monday in January Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

During the hearing, more than 40 people stood to give testimony in favor of the bill.

Dozens of school children also entered their support of the legislation into the record through signatures or written testimony.

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The then Governor Stan Stephens signed the bill into law less than three weeks later.

According to an article in the New York Times, Governor Stephens said, as he signed the bill 26 years ago, quote, it’s “not only a day honoring Dr. King, but his ideas and the ideas of others who’ve championed civil rights throughout the world.”

Reporter: Melissa JensenĀ