Last year, Missouri's so-called "birther" bill got national attention -- but this legislative session, no one's talking about it. But it's there. It hasn't advanced, but Daily RFT noticed the legislation when we went to chat with its author, Republican Representative Lyle Rowland, who has received more press this year for his bill to block a United Nations agenda.
"It's not about the President," says Rowland, who has once again introduced legislation that would require candidates for president of the United States provide proof of citizenship. "It's about doing what is right for the people of the state of Missouri. Our country is getting so diverse."
Why is there silence around House Bill 41?
It's possible that Republican leadership is not interested in letting the bill move forward or may not want it to get a whole lot of attention this year. In 2012 Rowland successfully moved the proposal through the House. National news outlets wrote about the initial success of the legislation. Though it was sent from the House to the Senate, it didn't get further.
It appears that this year's version, HB 41, had a reading in January.
Speaking with Rowland for a different story last month, we thought we'd ask him why, once again, he is pushing this proposal.
Given all the talk about immigration reform across the country, he says, he worries about groups that may want to work around the constitutional requirement that the president be a citizen.
"They may try to circumvent that law and try to have their name placed on a presidential ballot," he says. "We have a lot of people that sign documents...and they commit fraud every time that they sign their name.... We need to make sure that what they've signed on that line is the truth."
"We've got a lot of popular people that do not qualify for being our president," he adds. "This is just saying that whoever signs up as a presidential candidate in the state of Missouri...meet the qualifications.... If not, their name will be removed."
Continue for more of our interview and for the full bill.
As written, the bill says if candidates don't provide certification, they are ineligible.
"We don't have anyone to enforce this part of our Constitution," he says.
He says he's heard of all sorts of fraud and wants a clear law in place in Missouri to stop unqualified presidential candidates.
Rowland says, "I've read lots of stories where people have been elected...and they never should have been."
Here's the full bill.
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