Arizona Legislature Passes Presidential "Birther" Bill
Arizona would be the first state to require presidential hopefuls to prove they are citizens if Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signs the bill into law. Similar proposals have been defeated in Arkansas, Maine, Connecticut and Montana.
NBC News reported: "
The Arizona proposal would require political parties and presidential candidates to hand in affidavits stating a candidate's citizenship and age and to provide the candidate's birth certificate and a sworn statement saying where the candidate has lived for 14 years.
If candidates don't have a copy of their birth certificates, they could meet the requirement by providing baptismal or circumcision certificates, hospital birth records and other documents.
If it can't be determined whether candidates who provided documents in place of their birth certificates are eligible to appear on the ballot, the secretary of state would be able to set up a committee to help determine whether the requirements have been met.
The names of candidates can be kept off the ballot if the secretary of state doesn't believe the candidates met the citizenship requirement.
The bill's author, Republican Rep. Carl Seel, said the bill is not aimed specifically at President Obama. "It's not about that," Seel said. "It's about future elections and maintaining the integrity of the Constitution."
House Speaker Kirk Adams, a Republican, said he voted for the final version of the bill because he believed it was constitutional and also because it provided that all political candidates--include those seeking local elected positions--must meet that office's individual requirements.
"I believe this particular piece of legislation does not add to or detract from the qualifications for president as stated in the United States Constitution," he said.
Democratic Rep. Rep. Ruben Gallego voted against the bill and said its passage embarrassed him.
"Arizona is the first state to pass a birther bill. We look pretty much backward," Gallego said."You might as well change Arizona to Alabama."
Democratic Rep. Daniel Patterson, who also opposed the bill said, "It's a fringe issue in my view, and it's going to cause people to look again at Arizona and say what's all this craziness going on there."
So-called "birthers" have questioned whether President Obama was actually born in the United States, despite the fact that the claim that he was born in Kenya, his father's homeland, has been debunked numerous times. His birth certificate has been made public and officials from Hawaii, where Obama was born, have repeatedly confirmed his citizenship.