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'Obama Day' Will Soon Be Official, But You Won't Get To Stay Home From Work

By Sam Cholke | May 19, 2017 1:54pm | Updated on May 22, 2017 8:07am
 The Illinois General Assembly voted to make the Aug. 4 birthday of former President Barack Obama an honorary day, but not a legal holiday.
The Illinois General Assembly voted to make the Aug. 4 birthday of former President Barack Obama an honorary day, but not a legal holiday.
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CHICAGO — "Obama Day" will be a holiday in Illinois once Gov. Bruce Rauner signs a recently passed bill, but that doesn't mean you will get the day off.

That's because it won’t be the legal holiday many had hoped for.

The measure passed Friday by an 87-0 vote in the statehouse would make Aug. 4, Obama’s birthday, an honorary holiday. But unlike a previous bill being debated, it would not mean state offices, schools and other services would be closed, as they are on other legal holidays.

The bill that now heads to Rauner for his signature before it is official will not require any special observation by state or local governments, but does set aside Aug. 4 specifically as a day to recognize the accomplishments of Obama as he rose from an Illinois state senator to president of the United States.

Two measures that would have made Obama Day the first new state holiday in nearly 40 years failed by six votes in the statehouse in March.

Rauner opposed that measure, saying it would cost too much to shut down offices during a time of tough financial constraints for the state.

The governor's office on Friday referred a reporter to statements Rauner made in the past expressing support for an honorary holiday.

"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 in February. "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."