Presidential 'birther bill' advances in state House
by Casey Newton
The Arizona Republic
The so-called "birther bill" won initial approval from the House of Representatives on Monday, advancing legislation that would require presidential candidates to produce a birth certificate before they can make the ballot in Arizona.
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.
Rep. Judy Burges amended Senate Bill 1024 to include a requirement that Arizona's Secretary of State inspect a presidential candidate's birth certificate before that candidate could qualify for the ballot.
Similar laws have been proposed in Oklahoma, Florida and Missouri. None have been signed into law.
Democrats criticized Burges' amendment, saying presidential candidates already had to prove their citizenship before they can run for the office.
"Republicans continue to take Arizona down the wrong track by wasting taxpayers' time on frivolous legislation instead of working on important issues like health care for kids and seniors and education," said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, in a statement.
Burges, a Skull Valley Republican, did not respond to a call for comment.