Missouri House Republicans today passed a so-called birther bill, which would require all presidential and vice presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship to the state before they were allowed to appear on the ballot.
HB 1046 was introduced by state Rep. Lyle Rowland (R). He explained why he felt the bill was necessary to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Rowland, a Republican from Cedarcreek, said he sponsored the bill because he doesn’t think there is enough vetting in the current process, which primarily relies on political parties to verify whether candidates meet all requirements.
“This would just provide us with the verifying evidence,” Rowland said.
Rowland and other Republicans deny that the bill is in response to charges that President Obama is not a citizen, but state Democrats are unconvinced, calling the timing questionable. “There is a large amount of people out there who don’t think our president if a U.S. citizen,” said Rep. Jacob Hummel (D).
Under the bill, “verifying evidence” of citizenship includes a copy of a candidate’s birth certificate, which President Obama released months ago. It’s unclear whether a campaign would be able to provide a copy in coffee mug format.
Missouri is one of several states that has flirted with the idea of a birther bill, but would be the first to enact if, if it passes. Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma have all considered their own versions, and in Arizona, a bill made it all the way to Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) desk before she vetoed it.
This has actually been floating around in Missouri for more than a year, but the fact that it passed demonstrates how fucking out of touch our state legislature is. (And with both houses dominated by Republicans, you can understand why birther bills and birth control bills are their priority.)
Here’s my favorite part:
If approved, Missouri could become the first state to require such documents. It would go into effect in time for the 2016 election.
Considering, in more than 200 years of existence we’ve never forced presidential candidates to present evidence of their birth until we elected a black president, this is absolutely a racist gesture toward the president. This bill sends the message that non-white presidential candidates are somehow less American, so we’re going to force them to pony up papers.
It’s disgusting, but fear not, we have a few decent judges in this state as well as a Democratic governor. This is far from a done deal.