Obama birthday bill called another bumbling effort
A failed proposal in the Illinois House to make former President Barack Obama's birthday a state holiday is another example of Springfield legislators wasting time when they have better things to do, a conservative pundit argued on a radio broadcast recently.
"Don't we have enough holidays?" Pat Hughes, co-founder of the Illinois Opportunity Project, said in conversation with his Illinois Rising co-host, Dan Proft. "My kids have three-day weekends, like, every other week. This is just silliness. It's a waste of everybody's time. We have enormous structural problems. We should not be spending time on doing a translation thing that Google can do for free or making President Obama's birthday a state holiday. This is a small example, a microcosm of why things are so messed up."
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
The proposal, HB 0503, would have closed state facilities and schools on August 4 every year in honor of the 44th president and former Illinois lawmaker's birthday. On March 21, the House voted 54 to 57 against -- six votes shy of the 60 required to send it to the Senate. The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Sonya Harper (D-Chicago), used a House procedure that allows for the bill to be brought back up.
"So, no Obama holiday so far," Proft said.
The Illinois Policy Institute said the bill's failure saved Illinois taxpayers approximately $20 million in state personnel expenses and lost productivity.
A similar proposal, last year's HB 4654, failed to gain any traction and died in the House Rules Committee in April.
Obama was, for the most part, warmly received on the floor of the Illinois House when he gave a speech there on Feb. 10, 2016, during his last full year as president. Born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama moved to Chicago in 1985, having studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles and Columbia University in New York City, and earning a degree in political science. Obama worked as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side and later practiced as a civil rights lawyer with Miner, Barnhill & Galland.
In 2000, Obama made an unsuccessful Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives' seat of Bobby Rush. He won a U.S. Senate seat in 2004 and four years later begin his first term as president.
"He's just a complete an utter failure as a president who left his party in the dust and left a path for Donald Trump to become president," Hughes said. "So the idea that we need to be rewarding this guy is insane to me."
Hughes said he would support a state holiday for the late President Ronald Reagan, who was born in Tampico.