Some Republicans said closing state buildings on Obama's birthday could have a negative economic effect, especially since the state's Gov. Bruce Rauner's budget office already spends about $3.2 million in personnel expenses on state holidays.
Barack Obama's home state of IL doesn't think the former president's birthday should be a state holiday. They noted that Tampico-born Republican Ronald Reagan does not have an IL holiday in his honor.
The bill would have observed August 4 as a legal holiday in his home state, but the Chicago Tribune said the proposal was six votes short of passing, where it would have next moved to the Illinois Senate. "President Reagan is the only president who was born in the state of Illinois, the only president who went to grade school and high school and college in the state of Illinois, the only president to spend his formative years among the people of the great state of Illinois, but we don't have a holiday for President Reagan".
"President Barack Obama, he did great work for the state of IL and our country, and I believe we need to do our part in preserving that history", Harper said to the Chicago Tribune, noting that it was also important to honor the U.S.' first African-American president. Harper used a procedure allowing another vote later.
Others in the House, such as Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, asked whether IL should be incurring lost productivity and almost $20 million in annual overtime costs to keep vital state employees working.
The statehouse is also looking at legislation that would honor Obama by designating I-294 the "President Barack Obama Tollway". "I think it's appropriate, but I have a couple of questions about how we are doing it", said Republican Rep. Steve Andersson.
Those are: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Lincoln's birthday, Washington's birthday (Presidents Day), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, General Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.