Illinois Lawmakers Make ‘Barack Obama Day’ a New State Holiday

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On Friday, Bruce Rauner, the Republican governor of Illinois, signed a measure to make August 4 “Barack Obama Day.” The new state holiday honors the former president and will be celebrated each year starting in 2018. Senate Bill 55 garnered bipartisan support and did not receive a single vote against the measure.

As reported by The Hill, the day is being designated 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.”

Rauner publicly supported the idea that drove the bill earlier this year, though a previous version failed to gain the necessary support.

Speaking about the original legislation, Rauner said, “I think it’s awesome, and I think we should celebrate it.”

Rauner went on to say, “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.”

The new state holiday is considered commemorative.

Obama, now 56, celebrated his first birthday since leaving the White House on Friday. Both the former president and former first lady, Michelle Obama, were spotted celebrating the event at Rasika West End in Washington, DC.

Joe Biden, the former vice president, also shared his good wishes on Obama’s birthday. In a tweet, Biden said, “Your service has been a great gift to the country, and your friendship and brotherhood are a great gift to me. Happy birthday, Barack.”