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What can one give a former president on his birthday that shows appreciation? Illinois came up with a great gift.

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner declared “Barack Obama Day” when he signed a bill into law on Friday—President Barack Obama’s birthday—that establishes a statewide holiday in honor of the 44th president, NBC News Chicago reports.

Illinois will begin celebrating the new holiday on August 4, 2018, President Obama’s next birthday. The text of the bill noted that the former president served in the state legislature and represented Illinois in the U.S. Senate before becoming president, an office in which he “dedicated his life to protecting the rights of Americans and building bridges across communities.”

Lawmakers unanimously voted in favor of the holiday, though several lawmakers abstained. Republican lawmakers, however, drew a line by limiting the holiday to one in which workplaces and state offices remain open—making it a commemorative holiday. They pointed to economic cost of making the holiday more expansive.

“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,” Rauner stated, according to the news outlet.

This new honor comes after the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to rename a 3.5-mile stretch of road after President Obama.

SOURCE:  NBC News Chicago

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