SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Following Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to make the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum into a freestanding institution in his proposed state budget, Speaker Michael J.. Madigan is introducing legislation to improve the administration of the library, advancing an effort prioritized by both Rauner and House Democrats.
“The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a monument to one of Illinois’ greatest sons, and a symbol of our state’s place in American history, but the structure of its administration does not provide the museum with the clear leadership or flexibility the museum needs to fill its role as a world-class institution,” Madigan said. “This legislation puts the museum under the direct leadership of a board whose only responsibility is to the museum and this crucial piece of our history.”
Currently, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield is under the direction of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. While the library is widely recognized as one of the preeminent presidential museums in the country, it has been hampered by bureaucracy and mismanagement. Three different boards currently play a role in overseeing the museum. Madigan’s House Bill 136 separates the museum from the Historic Preservation Agency, placing it under the direction of an independent board appointed by the governor.
Streamlining the administration of the museum has been a priority for both Rauner and House Democrats. Rauner’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal called for the museum to be separated from the Historic Preservation Agency. Rauner also told legislators in 2015: “To ensure the museum and library to be the world-class institutions they deserve to be, our administration is working in partnership with Speaker Madigan on a reorganization plan.”
“The spirit of President Lincoln has always united Illinoisans, and this bill reflects a shared priority of House Democrats and the governor,” Madigan said. “House Democrats will continue to work cooperatively with the governor and seek out opportunities to streamline state government.”