Next Ill. government holiday could be Obama's birthday

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- A group of Illinois House Democrats are proposing President Barack Obama's birthday become the next state holiday.

The State (Springfield) Journal-Register reports Presidents Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson are the only former presidents that have their own state holidays.

The proposal says Aug. 4 would be considered a "legal holiday" in which state government offices, schools and businesses can close.

Bill sponsor Rep. Andre Thapedi says President Obama's distinctions as a Nobel Peace Prize winner and first black president of the United States are reasons to honor him.

Obama served eight years as a state senator and four years as a U.S. senator.

Illinois recognizes 13 state and federal holidays. If successful, the plan would be the first bill to establish a state holiday since 1977.

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