JEFFERSON CITY - President Barack Obama would have provide proof of his birth in the United States to the satisfaction of Missouri state officials if Republican lawmakers get their way.
The House passed and sent the Senate a bill that would require U.S. Presidential candidates to prove that he or she is a natural born citizen of the United States before his or her name can appear on the Missouri ballot. Additionally, the candidates' information would be kept and maintained by the Missouri Secretary of State and would be considered public information.
Bill sponsor Rep. Lyle Rowland, R-Taney, said "This bill isn't about any one particular person. It is about the process of justifying the qualifications of the President and Vice President of the United States with our Secretary of State."
Although the birther debates were prompted by conservative doubt about Obama's natural born citizenship and the legitimacy of his Hawaiian birth certificate, House Republicans never mentioned Obama's name during the Missouri House debate.
Rowland said, "This will give our voters proof positive that they meet the qualifications set forth by the Constitution of the United States."
Several Democratic lawmakers charged that the bill specifically targeted Obama.
"This conversation never came up until our President is named Barack Hussein Obama. And now all of the sudden because he does not have a name like you're used to, like the name of a president you have heard in the past, this is a huge problem," said Rep. Sylvester Taylor-D, St. Louis.
Democratic Floor Leader Rep. Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City, said the Missouri General Assembly should be focusing on other important issues such economic and education policy rather than the birther debates.