For a mere $100, you too could have proof of the truth -- if Hawaii lawmakers have their way. Several state legislators are promoting a bill that would make President Obama's birth records generally available to the public to end speculation -- much of it on the Internet -- that he was born outside of the United States.
The legislation, offered by five Democratic state lawmakers, would authorize release of birth records to anyone requesting them and paying a $100 fee. It is another attempt to dispel the rumors and quiet so-called birthers, who question Obama's legitimacy on constitutional grounds. Article II stipulates that "no person except a natural born citizen . . . shall be eligible to the Office of President."
In 2008, the Obama campaign released copies of records showing that he was born in Honolulu in 1961, but birthers think otherwise and have clamored for more information. "If [the bill] passes it will calm the birthers down," state Rep. Rida Cabanilla, the prime sponsor, told the Associated Press
. "All these people are still doubting it because they don't want the birth certificate from Obama. They want it from our state office."
Under an existing state privacy law, the records can only be released to someone with a tangible interest, such as a family member. Obama's parents are deceased. His father was born in Kenya, his mother in Kansas.
Money coming to the state under a release-for-fee plan would offset the extra work for state employees, who would likely be hounded by demands for the records, and perhaps help the state cope with a budget deficit projected at $800 million over the next two years.
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie
, a friend of Obama's family, had wanted to tamp down the rumors by releasing some of the records on his own, but he scrapped that idea last week after the state's attorney general said the privacy law wouldn't allow it, according to the New York Daily News
The legislation has a long way to go. Hawaii House Democratic leaders have yet to even schedule a public hearing, a prerequisite for serious consideration.
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