Jun 14, 2011 8:12 PM
A proposal to require presidential candidates to prove their U.S. citizenship before their names can be included on Louisiana's ballot has been shelved for this session, after running into opposition from lawmakers.
Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, said Tuesday he didn't press for the measure because he didn't have the votes to get the so-called "birther" bill out of the House committee where it was assigned. The measure never even received a hearing.
"We never had the votes to push it. We never scheduled it for a meeting," Seabaugh said. "I got a lot of pushback. It's done for the year."
Seabaugh said the opposition came from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers - but not from the Jindal administration.
The measure would have required an original or certified copy of a birth certificate and additional proof of citizenship for anyone running in Louisiana for president, vice president or Congress.
The U.S. Constitution requires that a presidential candidate be a natural-born U.S. citizen, at least 35 years old and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years.
The `birther' movement began when some claimed that President Barack Obama was born outside the United States and didn't meet the qualifications to be president. Obama has produced his detailed birth certificate from Hawaii, however, to end what he called a distraction for the country. Polls have shown large numbers of Republicans nationwide continued to doubt Obama is a natural-born citizen.
Seabaugh repeatedly said the bill he introduced wasn't about the President, but was about fixing a loophole in Louisiana election law. He said he will bring a new version of the measure back next year in the regular legislative session.
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who said he believes Obama is a citizen, had said he would sign the Louisiana "birther" proposal if it reached his desk. Arizona's governor vetoed a similar measure earlier this year.