Illinois is honoring President Obama with a new state holiday in his name.
On Friday, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a measure making Obama’s birthday, August 4, a state holiday. The new holiday will be celebrated every year starting in 2018.
“The holiday will be “observed throughout the State as a day set apart to honor the 44th President of the United States of America who began his career serving the People of Illinois in both the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate, and dedicated his life to protecting the rights of Americans and building bridges across communities,” Senate Bill 55 reads.”
Democrats previously tried to pass a bill making “Barack Obama Day” a legal state holiday. But the measure stalled because Republicans pushed back about the cost of shutting down businesses, schools, and state government. They also complained that they don’t even do that for Illinois president Ronald Reagan.
But Senate Bill 55 was passed with no votes against it in either house.
So now “Barack Obama Day” joins other commemorative holidays like Ronald Reagan Day, Jane Addams Day, and Adlai Stevenson Day in Illinois.
Republican Governor Rauner said,
“It’s incredibly proud for Illinois that the president came from Illinois. I think it’s awesome, and I think we should celebrate it. I don’t think it should be a formal holiday with paid, forced time off. But I think it should be a day of acknowledgment and celebration.”