Big news from the state of Illinois has been filling up headlines this last few days.
On Friday, the state government of Illinois made a decision to give former President Barack Obama his own holiday and people are as surprised as they can be!
Beginning next year, 4th of August will be known as “Barack Obama Day” across the state. Governor Bruce Rauner already signed the law to make this official.
According to Senate Bill 55, the holiday “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.”
While several lawmakers didn’t vote on the measure, the bill still passed both houses without a single vote against. The bill was introduced by Sen. Emil Jones III, the son of former Senate President Emil Jones, Jr., who played a major role in launching then-state Senator Obama to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and considers himself to be the former president’s political “godfather.”
“Barack Obama Day” will be just another in a long line of commemorative holidays, including Adlai Stevenson Day, Ronald Reagan Day and Jane Addams Day.
For some time, Democrats have been trying to make Obama’s birthday a legal state holiday – during which schools and state offices wouldn’t work, while banks and businesses could, but would not be required to close – stalled after some lawmakers voiced concern that other Illinois presidents, like Reagan, do not have similar holidays.
Several Republicans, including Rauner, noted about the economic cost of closing state buildings on the holiday and the impact of workers having the day off. Rauner told reporters this:
“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.”
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