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Democrats Begin Futile Push To Make Obama's Birthday A State Holiday

By Sam Stecklow in News on Feb 16, 2016 6:23PM

Obama shakes hands with supporters at a campaign rally at the Old State Capitol in August 2008. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

If there's one thing that #BusinessConservative Gov. Bruce Rauner and spendthrift Illinois Democrats can agree on, it's that Illinois needs another state holiday—and that that holiday should be Obama's birthday.

Earlier this month, 32nd District State Rep. Andre Thapedi, whose district extends from Hickory Hills in the southwest suburbs to Englewood, introduced House Bill 4654, which would close schools and state offices on Obama's birthday, Aug. 4. (Not sure how many schools would be open then, anyway.)

The bill, which is unlikely to go anywhere and will almost certainly not make it past Rauner, who's having a difficult enough time negotiating with the state employees' union in the first place, is predictably riling up conservative outlets in Illinois. A column by Mark Fitton of the Illinois News Network, an offshoot of the #BusinessConservative Illinois Policy Institute, that was syndicated by newspapers downstate, in Southern Illinois, and in the southwest suburbs that noted that the holiday would be Illinois' 13th state holiday, compared to a national state average of 8.8. (Which sounds about right for Illinois.)

What Fitton neglected to mention was that the bill is largely symbolic—I would be surprised if Thapedi really thought this bill would go anywhere. Another thing that all Illinois News Network stories neglect to include is the half a million dollars that the Illinois Policy Institute received from Rauner over the years.