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‘Birther’ legislation introduced by Sorenson
Legislation that would require anyone running for president to produce a birth certificate and make it available for public inspection was introduced this week by state Sen. Kent Sorenson (R-Indianola), however the bill is considered dead this session.
Friday marked the self-imposed funnel deadline for legislation to clear a committee in order to remain eligible for debate this session. Sorenson, a favorite of evangelical conservatives and the tea party movement, introduced the bill Wednesday, and it was assigned to a subcommittee on Thursday, where it remains.
A poll released last month showed that 51 percent of likely 2012 Republican primary voters said they believe President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. Those who falsely believe that Obama is foreign born and therefore not eligible to serve as president, known as “birthers,” have sparked a flood of legislation similar to Sorenson’s around the nation. In the last month, bills have appeared in Connecticut, Tennessee, Arizona, Indiana, Nebraska, Missouri and Montana that would all require anyone running for elected office to furnish a long-form birth certificate before being declared eligible as a candidate.
Obama was born in Hawaii, and in 2007 released a certified copy of his birth certificate. It did little to dampen the conspiracies, and birthers have filed three lawsuits since then before the U.S. Supreme Court. All were dismissed. Cases filed in lower courts have also not prevailed.
This isn’t the first time Sorenson has latched on to a widely discredited conspiracy theory, however. During debate over federal health care reform legislation, Sorenson used his Twitter account to push out an urban legend that the bill contained language giving power of choice over health care decisions to a “Health Care Commissioner.” PoltiFact, the Pulitzer Prize winning winning site run by the staff of the St. Petersburg Times, had already investigated the claim and found it to be what they classify as a “pants on fire” lie.
Sorenson did not respond to a request for comment.