Washington, D.D. -- Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-19) voted for House passage of omnibus legislation (HR 1483) Wednesday that included language establishing the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.

Madison County would be included in the Heritage Area.

Shimkus was a cosponsor of stand-alone legislation (HR 1625) regarding the Lincoln Heritage Area.

"Several similar proposals were bundled into one bill that included the Lincoln language," Shimkus explained. "The Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, an existing non-profit organization based in Springfield, would manage the national heritage area.

"The purpose behind this designation is twofold. First, to provide a federal framework for the many Lincoln sites and history in Illinois, and to provide some additional funding for education, tourism, and management of the area."

No specific funds come with the designation through this legislation, but funding is authorized. Federal funds must come through appropriations bills that are passed separately. The funds come with a restriction that they may not be used to purchase real property, and additional language protects private property rights and protects hunting and fishing on land within the heritage area.

The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area would also consist of these counties: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Dewitt, Douglas, Edgar, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Hancock, Henderson, Jersey, Knox, LaSalle, Logan, McLean, McDonough, Macon, Macoupin, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Peoria, Piatt, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren and Woodford.

The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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