Senate Bill No. 2056 would reverse current state law by allowing more open access to birth records inspection, and Senate Bill No. 2937 would allow the State Health Department to ignore illegitimate requests for vital records by labeling abusers of the system as "vexatious requestors." Espero told the Honolulu Advertiser his reason for introducing the bills. "It's because of all the noise about the president not being born here. I believe he's born here. Most of Hawai'i believes he's born here, and it's not an issue as it is with these Mainland birthers."
The Health Department website explains that current state law "prohibits the DOH from disclosing any vital statistics records ... unless the requestor has a direct and tangible interest." Release of birth certificates is limited in most cases to immediate family, legal guardians, or executors.
According to Health Department spokesman Janice Okubo, the state receives 40 to 50 requests for Obama's birth certificate each month, as reported by the Honolulu Advertiser. Okubo says that the law is necessary to protect against "identity theft and other types of concerns." She also complained that the requests place a heavy burden on DOH staff already severely strained by recent budget cuts.
Birthers maintain Obama is not eligible to be president because, they say, he was not born in the United States. They claim he was born in Mombosa, Kenya, and that his mother traveled to Hawaii shortly after his birth.
DOH Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino issued a statement in 2008 stating that both he and the Registrar of Vital Statistics "have personally seen and verified that the Hawai'i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures." He followed up with another statement in July, 2009, saying simply that he has "seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai'i State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawai'i and is a natural-born American citizen."
The major media is quick to label birthers as extremists not worthy of consideration. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs mockingly told a reporter at a press briefing in July 2009, "The noble truth is that the president was born in Hawaii, a state of the United States of America."
But that isn't good enough for birthers, who demand to see the actual document instead of the less complete Certificate of Live Birth issued by Obama's presidential campaign. Hawaii law allows parents of children born out of state to obtain certificates of live birth, a fact that prompts birthers to believe Obama has something to hide in not revealing the original long form birth certificate.
The topic has sparked a number of court cases. Prior to the 2008 presidential elections, Pennsylvania Democrat Philip J. Berg filed suit in U.S. District Court challenging Obama's eligibility to run, but the court dismissed the case in 2009.
U.S. Army Sergeant Steven F. Cook, a soldier ordered to Afghanistan, sued in 2009 for a temporary restraining order on his deployment based on Obama's ineligibility to be commander-in-chief. A California judge agreed to hear the case. However, the LA Independent reported that the army revoked Cook's deployment orders before the hearing date.
In response to birthers' concerns, U.S. Representative Bill Posey (R-Fla.) introduced H.R. 1503, a bill to require future presidential candidates to provide documentation proving they meet Constitutional requirements for eligibility to the office of president. The bill has 11 cosponsors but in the year since its introduction still awaits a committee hearing. Regarding Obama's birth certificate, Posey told WorldNet Daily, "The only people I know who are afraid to take drug tests are the people who use drugs."
Before his abrupt departure from CNN last November, Lou Dobbs gave the issue considerable coverage.