HONOLULU – It's now law in Hawaii that the state government can ignore repetitive requests for President Barack Obama's birth certificate.
Republican Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law Wednesday a bill allowing state government agencies not to respond to follow-up requests for information if they determine that the subsequent request is duplicative or substantially similar to a previous request.
The law is aimed at so-called "birthers," who claim Obama is ineligible to be president. They contend the Democratic president was born outside the United States, and therefore doesn't meet a constitutional requirement for being president.
Lingle didn't elaborate on her reasons for signing the bill, but state Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino previously issued statements saying that she's seen vital records that prove Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen.
Both Fukino and the state registrar of vital statistics have verified that the Health Department holds Obama's original birth certificate.
Health Department officials supported the law because the state still gets between 10 and 20 e-mails seeking verification of Obama's birth each week, most of them from outside Hawaii.
A few of those requesters file repeated inquiries seeking the same information, even after they're told state law bars release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who does not have a tangible interest.
Advocates for openness in government oppose the law because they fear it could be used to ignore legitimate requests for information.