March 12, 2019

Duckworth and Durbin’s Lincoln National Heritage Area Act Signed Into Law


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) honoring the legacy of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was signed into law today. The Senators’ new law will expand the Lincoln National Heritage Area in Central Illinois to include Livingston County, the city of Jonesboro in Union County and the city of Freeport in Stephenson County. The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area Amendment Act, which was signed into law as part of the Natural Resources Management Act, will increase economic opportunities for Illinoisans working to preserve the historic site and create new recreation, tourism and educational projects.

“President Lincoln is a true American hero who expanded liberty and freedom for many and worked tirelessly to steer our country through one of our most challenging times. Our democracy would not be what it is today without his leadership,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud that this legislation Senator Durbin and I led is now law—it will not only honor his legacy, but create new opportunities throughout central Illinois.”

“Expanding the Lincoln National Heritage Area will give future generations of Illinoisans and visitors the chance to learn about President Lincoln’s lasting legacy in our great state,” said Durbin. “This bill will also support Illinois communities and help grow the local economy by increasing access to federal grants for preservation and education. I was proud to work with Senator Duckworth to pass this bill in the Senate and have it signed into law today.”

Duckworth and Durbin first introduced the Lincoln National Heritage Area Amendments Act in March of 2018 where it unanimously passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Duckworth and Durbin reintroduced it in early 2019 and in March of this year, it again passed the Senate unanimously. U.S. Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The existing Lincoln National Heritage Area was established in 2008 and preserves the rich legacy of President Lincoln. The region includes 42 counties across central Illinois, stretching from the Indiana border to the Mississippi River, and is one of the largest heritage areas in the nation. The site generates approximately $260 million in economic impact, supports more than 3,000 jobs and generates $25.5 million in tax revenue.

The counties that would be added to the Lincoln National Heritage Area under this legislation are of special significance to President Lincoln’s personal and professional life. These areas are where Lincoln developed his legal career within the Eighth Judicial District. They are also home to the sites of the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates.