Arizona House Advances "Birther" Bill; Hawaii Moves to Slow "Birther" Requests

The Arizona House on Wednesday advanced the so-called "birther bill" that has drawn widespread criticism, but lawmakers in Hawaii are moving forward with their own legislation to ignore the "birther" questions.

The Arizona "birther bill" would require Arizona's secretary of state to review a presidential candidate's birth certificate before that candidate could get on the ballot in the state. It was attached as an amendment to a larger bill modifying the way candidates' names appear on the state ballot. That bill passed by a vote of 31 to 29 and received only the support of Republicans. It now moves to the state Senate before the governor can sign it into law.

The Arizona Republic reported earlier that the legislation originated from a "fringe group that believes President Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and therefore ineligible to be president."

The so-called "birther movement," questioning Mr. Obama's origins, began during his presidential campaign. It has steadily persisted through Mr. Obama's presidency, in spite of overwhelming evidence he was born in the United States -- including his 1961 birth announcement, printed in two Hawaii newspapers.

Meanwhile, Hawaii's Health Department receives so many requests for the president's birth certificate that it has prompted the state legislature into action.

A joint House-Senate conference committee on Tuesday approved a bill aimed at slowing the requests, the Honolulu Star Bulletin reports. The legislation says government agencies would not be required to respond to follow-up requests for information if, after a "good faith review and comparison," the second request is found to be too similar to the first.

The Health Department reportedly said it still gets between 10 and 20 e-mails a week, most from outside Hawaii, seeking verification of Mr. Obama's birth.