A Republican state representative in Texas filed a bill on Tuesday that would require any candidate for president or vice president of the United States to provide his or her birth certificate to the Texas secretary of state.
"This bill is necessary because we have a president whom the American people don't know whether he was born in Kenya or some other place," Leo Berman, who has represented the 6th District of Texas since 1999, told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. "If you are running for president or vice president, you’ve got to show here in Texas that you were born in the United States and the birth certificate is your proof."
The rumor that President Barack Obama is not eligible to hold the office of president because he is a not a natural born citizen has been persistent. According to a CNN poll, over a quarter of the public doubts Obama's citizenship.
In October, a lawsuit filed by Alan Keyes claiming Obama is not eligible to occupy the White House because he is not a natural born citizen was thrown out by a state appellate court.
The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that the California secretary of state, who oversees elections, and the state's Electoral College members are not legally responsible for certifying that candidates meet constitutional qualifications to hold office.
Berman's bill, House Bill 295, seeks to change this. His bill specifies that, "the secretary of state may not certify the name of a candidate for president or vice-president unless the candidate has presented the original birth certificate indicating that the person is a natural-born United States citizen."
According to the Third District Court of Appeal, the responsibility to certify that candidates meet constitutional qualifications for office rests with Congress.
Berman has been a vocal critic of the president.
"I believe that Barack Obama is God's punishment on us today, but in 2012, we are going to make Obama a one-term president," Berman told a crowd at a "Taking Back America" rally. Texas Governor Rick Perry and conservative pundit Glenn Beck also spoke at the event.
Republicans are expected to have an ambitious agenda this year after picking up a total of 680 seats in state legislatures. After the November 2nd elections, Republicans now control 26 state legislatures.
Earlier this month, Texas Governor Rick Perry said that he wants states to be able to opt-out of Social Security, a move that would be much easier with a substantial Republican majority in the Texas House.