Rauner creates state bicentennial planning groups

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner is gearing up for the Land of Lincoln’s 200th birthday.

The Republican governor signed an executive order Tuesday creating an Illinois Bicentennial Commission and the Governor’s Office of the Illinois Bicentennial to plan festivities for 2018.

Rauner hired Stuart Layne as Illinois Bicentennial Executive. Layne has extensive marketing experience and a news release says he has expertise in research, branding, publicity, events and sponsor partnerships.

Illinois became the nation’s 21st state on Dec. 3, 1818.

Rauner says the bicentennial will be a chance to “celebrate Illinois’ contributions to the country and the world and plan for our next 200 years of innovation and achievement.”

Rauner’s action dissolved a 77-member state bicentennial commission created in 2014. The new, 51-member group will include 40 gubernatorial appointees.