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Executive Order Number 14-07

Executive Order Number 14-07 (PDF, 248 KB)

State Of Illinois Executive Department - Springfield, Illinois 

Creation of the State Bicentennial Commission

WHEREAS, December 3, 2018 will mark the 200th anniversary of Illinois’ admission to the Union as a state; and

WHEREAS, after thousands of years of native settlement and centuries as a French and British territory, the Illinois Territory was created out of the former Northwest Territory by an Act of the United States Congress on February 3, 1809; and

WHEREAS, Illinois was named by French explorers after the Illiniwek tribe, a group of Native American tribes that occupied the upper Mississippi River valley of North America, including much of the land that is Illinois today; and

WHEREAS, in 1818, Illinois became the 21st state admitted to the Union, with Kaskaskia as the first capital; in 1819, Vandalia became the capital of Illinois; and in 1837, the capital was moved to Springfield, where it remains to this day; and

WHEREAS, the State of Illinois grew steadily throughout the 19th century, with Illinois citizens becoming leaders in agriculture, business, finance, technology, higher education, and science; the 19th century also saw the rise of the City of Chicago and saw Chicago’s increasing importance in the national labor movement and the economy; and

WHEREAS, with the coming of the 20th century, the State of Illinois became a vital agricultural and industrial power in the nation; and

WHEREAS, the State of Illinois has cultivated many political leaders, including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Adlai Stevenson II, Ronald Reagan, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who have had a great impact on national and world affairs; and

WHEREAS, the State’s official slogan “Land of Lincoln” is named after the nation’s most beloved president, Abraham Lincoln, who spent his formative years in Illinois from 1830 to 1861, studying and practicing law, serving as a state legislator and a United States Congressman, marrying and raising a family and winning election as the 16th President of the United States; and

WHEREAS, Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery and was among the early states in ratifying the 14th and 15th constitutional amendments addressing citizenship and voting rights; and

WHEREAS, for two centuries, Illinois has been a first American home to uncounted immigrants from all parts of the world, which has enriched our State’s cultural diversity; and

WHEREAS, Illinois is home to the nation’s first African American President, Barack Obama, who was elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012; and

WHEREAS, the State of Illinois continues to serve as a world leader in the 21st century in the fields of science, finance, higher education, agriculture, and industry, a position made possible by the great industriousness of the citizens of this State; and

WHEREAS, Illinois has been home to many influential people including authors, educators, artists, entertainers, poets, athletes, social reformers, entrepreneurs and scientists who have made significant contributions to the history and culture of our nation and have improved the quality of life of its citizens; and

WHEREAS, Illinois has always been a crossroads for the nation, historically linking North, South, East and West, and a destination for millions of people from all backgrounds who seek a fair chance and an equal opportunity in life; and

WHEREAS, when Illinois entered statehood it had a population of less than 35,000 people, and currently is the 5th most populous state in the country, with approximately 12.8 million people; and

WHEREAS, as the State of Illinois approaches its bicentennial, it is in the public interest to ensure that this occasion is properly celebrated throughout the State;

THEREFORE, I, Pat Quinn, Governor of the State of Illinois, pursuant to the supreme executive authority vested in me by Article V of the Illinois Constitution, do hereby order as follows:

    1. There shall be established the State Bicentennial Commission (the “Commission”).

      1. Members of the Commission shall represent the diversity of Illinois and shall include the following individuals or their respective designees: Governor, President of the Senate, Senate Minority Leader, Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer, Comptroller, Secretary of State, members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, Mayor of Chicago, and Mayor of Springfield.
      2. Membership shall also include one representative from each of the following agencies: the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Office of Tourism, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation, and the Illinois Arts Council.
    2. The Governor may also appoint up to 40 members from the areas of academia, business, labor, military, civil rights, community development, historic preservation, education, philanthropy, the arts, as well as members of the general public.
    3. The Governor shall select a chairperson or co-chairpersons.
    4. The Commission shall meet as frequently as necessary at the call of the chairperson or co-chairpersons.
    5. A majority of the appointed and serving members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum, but the number required for a quorum shall not exceed twenty.
    6. Members shall serve without compensation or reimbursement.
    7. The Commission may solicit and access donations of labor, services, or other things of value from any public or private agency or person. The Commission may cooperate with a private non-profit entity to hold monetary gifts or grants.
    8. The Commission shall be provided assistance and support services, subject to the availability of appropriations, by the Office of the Governor, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the Illinois Arts Council, the Illinois Office of Tourism, the Secretary of State and other agencies of state government in organizing bicentennial celebrations. The Historic Preservation Agency shall provide administrative and technical support for the Commission, including a staff member to serve as the Commission’s ethics officer.
    9. The Governor may hire an Executive Director and other staff as needed to carry out the planning of the State’s Bicentennial commemorations.

    The purpose of the Commission is to oversee the planning and execution of a statewide celebration for Illinois’ 200th birthday that engages Illinois residents and local communities and leaves a lasting legacy for future generations.


    The responsibilities of the Commission shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

    1. Lead planning efforts to commemorate the significance of the State’s contributions to our national history.
    2. Research and make prioritized recommendations outlining the most effective and beneficial means for the State of Illinois to commemorate the bicentennial.
    3. Identify and secure resources necessary to effectively celebrate the State’s bicentennial.
    4. Implement recommendations by working with the Office of the Governor, appropriate state and local government agencies, members of the Illinois General Assembly, local elected officials, state and local historical societies and other organizations that are dedicated to commemorating the State of Illinois.
    5. Coordinate scheduling of all State bicentennial activities.
    6. The Commission shall submit an annual report to the Governor and the General Assembly in January of each year summarizing its activities and accomplishments for the preceding year.


    If any provision of this Executive Order is found invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect.


    In addition to any policies or procedures the Commission may adopt, all operations of the Commission shall be subject to the provisions of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1 et seq.) and the Illinois Open Meetings Act (5 ILCS 120/1 et seq.). This section shall not be construed so as to preclude other statutes from applying to the Commission and its activities.


    The Commission shall be dissolved on December 31, 2018.


    This Executive Order shall take effect immediately upon its filing with the Secretary of State.

Pat Quinn
Governor of Illinois

Issued by the Governor:
Filed with the Secretary of State: