Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill Friday establishing August 4 as “Barack Obama Day.”
The 44th president received the honor from his home state on his 56th birthday. The bill passed through both chambers of the state legislature without any dissenting votes.
“August 4th of each year is designated as Barack Obama Day, to 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 states.
Legislators tried to pass “Obama Day” back in March but the legislation failed by just six votes in the House. That particular bill would have made the day a legal holiday and cost Illinois taxpayers around $20 million in lost productivity, the Illinois Policy Institute reports,
Additionally, that failed legislation added costs if the holiday fell on a Sunday, so state workers would have Monday off.
Rauner told a Chicago Tribune reporter of the bill, “It’s incredibly proud for Illinois that the president came from Illinois. I think it’s awesome, and I think we should celebrate it.”
He added, “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.”