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Ariz. bill requires candidates to prove birth in US

By Jacques Billeaud
Associated Press / April 17, 2011

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PHOENIX — Arizona, which has shown little reluctance in bucking the federal government, is again plowing controversial ground, this time as its Legislature passed a bill to require President Obama and other presidential candidates to prove they were born in the United States before their names can appear on the state’s ballot.

If Governor Jan Brewer signs the proposal into law, Arizona would be the first state to pass such a requirement — potentially forcing a court to decide whether the president’s birth certificate is enough to prove he can legally run for reelection. Hawaii officials have certified Obama was born in that state, but so-called birthers have demanded more proof.

Opponents say Arizona’s bill gives the state another black eye after lawmakers approved a controversial immigration enforcement law last year, considered legislation asserting state rights, and made it illegal to create “human-animal’’ hybrids by fertilizing human eggs with nonhuman sperm and vice versa.

“Arizona is in the midst of a fiscal crisis,’’ said Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Phoenix, an opponent of the bill. “We’ve cut school funding. And they pass a bill questioning Obama’s citizenship? For real?’’

Representative Carl Seel, Republican of Phoenix, the bill’s author, said the president’s birth record would not satisfy the requirements of his proposal and that Obama would have to provide other records, such as baptismal certificates and hospital records.

But Seel said the measure was not intended as a swipe against the president and instead was meant to maintain the integrity of elections.

“Mr. Obama drew the question out, but it’s not about him,’’ Seel said, noting his bill would also require statewide candidates to complete an affidavit showing they meet the qualifications for those offices, which include US citizenship.