As the Times-Picayune reports today, Gov. Bobby Jindal says that if HB 561 makes it through the legislature he’ll sign it – which is likely to generate no small amount of heat as the legislature opens its regular session next week.
That’s because HB 561 is the ‘birther bill’ – a piece of legislation sponsored by state Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport) and Sen. A.G. Crowe, (R-Slidell) which would require federal candidates to file an affidavit attesting to their citizenship accompanied by an “original or certified copy” of their birth certificate if they want ballot access in Louisiana.
Seabaugh told the Picayune that he’s not targeting the legislation at President Barack Obama, whose birthplace has been the subject of controversies and conspiracy theories since 2008. Instead, he just thinks there’s a hole in the state’s law on proof of citizenship and his bill would fix it.
Jindal’s spokesman Kyle Plotkin and Seabaugh both told the paper they have no problem with Obama’s citizenship. A source within the administration told the Hayride this morning that the bill isn’t part of the governor’s agenda for this session; if it makes it through the legislature he’ll sign it but he’s not going to lobby for it.
Of course, should the ‘birther bill’ pass and become law in Louisiana it means this state will have assumed the mantle as the most anti-Obama state in the union – a title which heretofore has belonged to Arizona. But in that state a ‘birther bill’ which passed both houses of the legislature was vetoed yesterday by Gov. Jan Brewer, who has been locked in legal battles with the White House over its legislative attempts to control the effects of illegal immigration.
Should Louisiana achieve notoriety as the least friendly state to the president in the nation, it won’t have been without reason. Obama’s moratorium on offshore oil drilling, which has only recently been partially lifted, has had a terrible effect on the state’s economy. The president’s Interior Secretary is still in contempt of a New Orleans federal court over the issue.
Obama’s handling of the BP oil spill was seen as grossly incompetent within Louisiana. But even after the spill was stopped, Louisianans have continued to complain about its handling; in particular Obama’s hand-picked head of the authority processing loss claims from the spill, Kenneth Feinberg, has been a public-relations disaster of epic proportions and is nearly universally reviled.
And with the president’s Justice Department pigeonholing Louisiana welfare recipients in an attempt to build evidence against the Jindal administration on a Voting Rights Act lawsuit it’s preparing, it’s little surprise that Jindal might have an appetite to breaking something off in the president.
But with the statement that the governor would sign the ‘birther bill,’ it seems apparent that we’ve now found our most-hyped bill of the session.