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‘Birther’ bill heads to Senate after House approval

Arizona would require presidential hopefuls to prove their citizenship to the state’s highest elections official if they hope to appear on ballots in the Grand Canyon State under a bill approved April 21 by the House of Representatives.

The bill, S1024, narrowly passed 31-29, receiving the minimum number of votes required for approval. It was amended to include the so-called “birther” language on April 19.

“Arizona is seen as a laughingstock around the nation,” said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Phoenix Democrat who voted against the bill. “I am ashamed that this is even a topic of discussion.”

Sinema also called it “ridiculous…offensive (and) disgusting” that Arizona lawmakers were taking up the matter.

Even the White House criticized the bill. “I can’t imagine Arizona voters think their tax dollars are well served by a legislature that is less focused on their lives than in fringe right-wing radio conspiracy theories,” White House spokesman Bill Burton told CNN on April 20.

But Rep. Judy Burges, a Republican from Skull Valley who sponsored the amendment and a bill with identical language, said the issue was an important one.

“This is one way to bring back integrity and transparency to the voting system,” she said. “Half of the people thinks everything is fine. The other half doesn’t…

“We are trying to solve a problem.”

Rep. Andy Biggs, a Republican from Gilbert, said the founding fathers gave discretion to each state to determine how elections are conducted. Arizona already has a set of qualifications that each presidential hopeful must meet, and this legislation merely expands that, he said.

“I don’t think there’s anything particularly unusual, other than the timing appears to be (related) to the most recent president,” Biggs said.

The bill would require national political parties to provide an affidavit stating the candidate meets the age, residency and citizenship requirements. Along with that, the candidate would be required to attach the documents needed for verification by the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

If the secretary of state doesn’t believe a candidate meets qualifications for president, the candidate’s name could be withheld from the ballot.

Supporters of the bill said the bill was not aimed at President Barack Obama, but instead intended to defuse future debates about a presidential candidate’s qualifications. However, Obama would still be required to comply if he wants to be on the Arizona ballot in 2012 if the bill becomes law.

“If he decides to run in two years, then he should provide his information and he shouldn’t have a problem,” Burges said.

Four of the chamber’s 35 Republicans voted against the bill: Rich Crandall from Mesa, Russ Jones from Yuma, Vic Williams from Tucson and Adam Driggs from Phoenix. Crandall told Arizona Capitol Times the Federal Elections Commission already verifies the qualifications, so a state law would be redundant.

“We’re adding more and more responsibilities (for the secretary of state) with no funding – for something that somebody’s already doing,” he said.

The bill now returns to the Senate for a final vote. If approved there, it goes to Gov. Jan Brewer.

14 comments

  1. Henceforth, let it be made federal law that before the candidacy of any aspiring GOP state lawmaker can be considered for the US Senate or US House of Representatives…….they must first be required to submit to an in-depth psychiatric evaluation, detailed results to be posted online, AND they must undergo an intensive oral examination on the US history, the US Constitution and US Constitutional Law, to be televised on C-span before the American people.

  2. “TILTING AT WINDMILLS”

    April 16, 2010
    Judge Dismisses Suit by Birther Activist Orly Taitz
    A federal judge has dismissed a Washington lawsuit by “birther” activist Orly Taitz challenging President Barack Obama’s citizenship.
    Taitz, a dentist and lawyer from California known for her occasional TV news appearances, filed a “quo warranto” complaint challenging Obama’s status as a natural born citizen and demanding that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provide a copy of the president’s birth certificate.
    The case landed with Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who, suffice it to say, was having none of it.
    “This is one of several such suits filed by Ms. Taitz in her quixotic attempt to prove that President Obama is not a natural born citizen as required by [the] Constitution,” Lamberth wrote in a decision published on April 14. “This Court is not willing to go tilting at windmills with her.”

  3. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    Arizona, you truly are a laughingstock! Tell you what, we’ll stop taking federal taxes if you stop taking federal money. All of the bases, parks, etc gone.

    Let’s see how long the desert republic lasts

  4. I wonder if there would have been this same fervor if Bobby Jindahl had been elected President in 2008? Me thinks not. How do we know Mr. Jindahl’s mother did not hop a plane to give birth back in India with her mother and family? Has anyone seen HIS birth certificate? This State is very intolerant if not full out xenophobic. We ARE the laughing stock in the Nation. My son and I are seriously considering moving to Seattle. We’re sick of all of the xenophobia and me first politics.

  5. “Four of the chamber’s 35 Republicans voted against the bill: Rich Crandall from Mesa, Russ Jones from Yuma, Vic Williams from Tucson and Adam Driggs from Phoenix.”

    There’s a nugget of good news here. 13% of the GOPs in the Arizona house *aren’t* idiots.

  6. I thought I was reading the Onion when I saw this story. This is hilarious! Maybe the birthers from around the country can all move to Arizona where it would be easier to keep them from infecting the normal gene pool.

  7. Birthers…unconstitutional immigration legislation…leaglizing churches as political activist groups…what’s next: the 6,000 year old earth is flat legislation?

    Where is the structurally balanced budget and the fiscally responsible response to a declining economic platform and outdated financial models?

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