The GOP has gone local and ten states have raised “birther bills” as state 2011 legislative sessions get underway. For the most part, the bills seek to prevent the President’s and Vice President’s names from appearing on the ballot for the 2012 presidential elections. With unemployment at nine percent and at least 45 states facing budget shortfalls and gaps for the fiscal year 2012 (which begins on July 1, 2011), is this the best usage of states’ valuable time and resources? For the GOP, apparently not. The birther bills are growing and getting creative in their language and intent.
Nebraska, which is facing a $751 million budget gap, has a “distinct twist” in it’s birther bill:
While much of the proposed legislation’s language resembles that of similar bills [in other states], Nebraska’s bill has a distinct twist: in addition to the long-form birth certificate of the potential candidate, it requires the long-form birth certificates for both of his or her parents ….the bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Mark Christensen said Obama is “absolutely” a United States citizen, but his own apprehension lies in the citizenship of the president’s parents, who he said may not have been citizens at the time of Obama’s birth.[....]
Other states with birther bills are facing far more serious economic woes. Texas’, which is facing a $27 billion two-year budget shortfall, has a birther bill that requires future presidential/vice-presidential candidates to produce original birth certificates in order to be placed on the ballot.
Tennessee, which has a 9.4 percent unemployment rate, has introduced 11 birther bills proposed thus far with similar requirements for original birth certificates, affidavits from witnesses and more.
In Arizona, where the budget gap is at $1.4 billion and the unemployment rate is 9.4 percent, a citizen responded to the birther bill saying:
[C]ountless hours and ample resources are being shoveled into the proposed legislation. Those resources and hours should be devoted to the several more serious matters that face the state of Arizona.
K-12 education is taking major cuts, nearly 300,000 Arizonans face losing Medicaid coverage, gun laws are of the most lenient in the country and violence along the U.S.-Mexico border continues.
Is this really the time to propose foolish legislation oh-so-subtly directed at Obama’s citizenship? I think not. Lawmakers need to take a look at the critical issues facing Arizonans. Arizonans need jobs, better education and improved health coverage – not a birth certificate that proves Obama is a U.S. Citizen. [….]
These bills are frivolous and a waste of time and resources, especially since states are experiencing record budget shortfalls. Add to the mix the US House Republicans plan to “cut off non-security discretionary funding for states, opening an additional $32 billion gap.” [….] I wonder if given the choice, would American citizens want their lawmakers spending valuable time and resources attacking the President’s and his parents’ citizenship, or working on jobs and the economy? Maybe the GOP could put eliminating frivolous proposed legislation at the top of their priority of spending cuts.