Bill to honor Barack Obama’s birthday headed to Gov. Rauner

Bill to honor Barack Obama’s birthday headed to Gov. Rauner

Illinois Senate Bill 55 would observe former President Barack Obama’s Aug. 4 birthday, but keep state facilities open.

A bipartisan bill commemorating former President Barack Obama’s birthday has passed in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly and now awaits Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature. But unlike a previous proposal to honor the former president, this bill will not make Obama’s birthday a legal holiday.

Senate Bill 55 designates Aug. 4 of each year as Barack Obama Day, and sets the day apart to recognize the achievements of the 44th president of the United States. But SB 55 would only make Barack Obama Day an honorary holiday, not a legal holiday. This means state and local government facilities would stay open on Barack Obama Day and continue offering services to the public.

The Senate passed SB 55 in March without a single no vote. The House then passed the bill May 19 in a landslide, voting 87-0 in favor of the measure.

An earlier attempt to make Obama Day a legal holiday failed to pass in March, falling short by six votes. That plan, which would have made the day a legal holiday, would’ve cost Illinois taxpayers $20 million in lost productivity and state employee personnel costs. And under that bill, if Aug. 4 were to fall on a Sunday, state workers would’ve been given the following Monday off, as well.

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