Illinois Legislature Decides Against Making Obama’s Birthday a State Holiday

In this Aug. 6, 2013, file photo. President Barack Obama laughs as the crowd sings him "Happy Birthday" at the start of his speech about housing at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix. The man who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is more than just another famous face, or the …
AP/Jacquelyn Martin
Springfield, IL

Lawmakers out of Chicago wanted to make Barack Obama’s birthday an Illinois state holiday giving state workers the day off with pay, but the state’s House of Representatives shot the plan down by a scant margin.

Obama is certainly a beloved figure in a state legislature where Democrats have a super majority, but the proposal to make August 4 a state holiday only garnered 54 votes, six votes shy of passage, according to the Associated Press.

Representative Sonya Harper, the Chicago Democrat who sponsored the bill, insisted that passage would “preserve” history for the state’s 12 million citizens.

“President Barack Obama, he did great work for the state of Illinois and our country, and I believe we need to do our part in preserving that history,” Harper said on the floor of the House.

Republican Steve Anderson of Geneva, Illinois, said it was “appropriate” to have a day to honor President Obama, but he thought that the state couldn’t afford to give employees yet another paid holiday.

According to a Mercatus Center review, Illinois is among the bottom five states with the worst budget crises in the nation.

Other proposals to honor Obama have a smaller budget footprint. Two of those entail renaming parts of Interstate 55 in Obama’s honor.

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