If you live in Illinois, you’ll begin celebrating ‘Barack Obama day’ next year

If you live in Illinois, you’ll begin celebrating ‘Barack Obama day’ next year
Illinois passed a bill last week marking former President Barack Obama's birthday as an annual state holiday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Illinois is honoring former President Barack Obama by establishing an annual state holiday in his name.

WMAQ-TV reports that Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, signed a bill into law on Friday to establish August 4 — the same day as Obama’s birthday — as the Prairie State’s “Barack Obama Day.”

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,” the bill, Senate Bill 55, reads, according to WMAQ.

No Illinois state legislators voted against the bill, either in the state’s House or Senate.

The holiday will be commemorative only and will not force schools and state organizations to close. However, Democrats did try to make the holiday a legal one, which would have forced state organizations and schools to close.

The idea behind a legal state holiday failed after some state lawmakers raised concerns that other Illinois presidents with state holidays, like former President Ronald Reagan, have a commemorative holiday only.

Plus, there were concerns over the economic impact closing the state every August 4 would have.

“It’s incredibly proud for Illinois that the president came from Illinois. I think it’s awesome, and I think we should celebrate it,” Rauner said about the proposition in February, WMAQ reports. “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.”

Obama celebrated his 56th birthday on Friday. It was his first birthday since leaving the White House in January.

The holiday will be celebrated annually beginning in 2018.

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