Bill to coordinate celebrations of America’s 250th birthday clears committee

A bill to create the California Commission on the United States Semiquincentennial has cleared the Governmental Organization Committee today and is on its way to the Appropriations Committee. 

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Huntington Beach) authored SB 1214, which is modeled after a similar measure to coordinate state celebrations of the nation’s bicentennial in 1976. The 250th anniversary of the American Revolution is on July 4, 2026.

“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,” Senator Janet Nguyen said. “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.” 

SB 1214 would establish a commission to plan and coordinate commemorations and events surrounding the semiquincentennial. It would be funded solely by private and federal monies in an account held by the California Treasury. All records will be deposited with the State Archives with a 2028 deadline. 

The commission will have 11 members comprised of the state archivist, four legislators, five members of the public and one historian. A federal Semiquincentennial Commission has been established with eight members of Congress, 16 private citizens and nine federal officials. 

“Like the actions of elected leaders in 42 other states and territories, I urge the California Legislature to support the legislative efforts of Senator Nguyen in calling for the creation of a California commission dedicated to honoring this significant milestone,” said Rosie Rios, chairperson of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission. “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.” 

Similarly, in 1967 the Legislature created the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of California, which ran through 1977. The commission oversaw celebrations and created medals, coins, seals, and other souvenirs leading up to July 4, 1976.