Despite being born in Hawaii, former President Barack Obama says Illinois is his home state, where his family still has a home in Chicago.
Obama’s political career started in the Land of Lincoln, but Illinois just decided against honoring him.
Earlier this week, legislation was introduced to make August 4th, Barack Obama’s birthday, an official state holiday, but the legislation came up 6 votes short in the Illinois House.
— CNN International (@cnni) March 22, 2017
The Chicago Tribune notes that under the proposed legislation “state facilities and schools would close each year on Aug. 4, Obama’s birthday.”
More from the article, explaining the objections to Obama’s birthday becoming a state holiday:
Republicans raised a variety of concerns, from the economic impact of closing state buildings on holidays to the “inconsistent way” presidents from Illinois are recognized. They noted that Tampico-born Republican Ronald Reagan does not have an Illinois holiday in his honor.
Still, they tried to rise above partisan differences, with several GOP members saying they could support the measure if it was changed from a state holiday to a more informal day of recognition, in which schools and state buildings would stay open. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget office estimates state holidays cost $3.2 million in personnel expenses, with another $16 million in lost productivity.
“The concept you are working on here, giving President Obama a day, I think is deserved. I think it’s appropriate, but I have a couple of questions about how we are doing it,” said Rep. Steve Andersson, R-Geneva.
Andersson said the state could not afford the budget hit given its current financial crisis, and he said he didn’t believe an official holiday was needed to recognize Obama’s impact on Illinois. Andersson contended that most state holidays have lost their true meaning, instead becoming a day more celebrated for picnics and barbecues.
Democrats have sizable majorities in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, with a 67-51 advantage in the House and a 37-22 majority in the Senate, but were unable to make Obama’s birthday an official holiday.
Illinois is one of the most liberal states in America, with Obama winning his home state by more than 16% in 2012 and 25% in 2008, but their refusal to give the former president a state holiday is a major embarrassment to his legacy.