Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hawaii Restricting Records' Requests?

As people continue to petition of the state of Hawaii for Obama's birth certificate, the state is considering passing a law that would allow them to ignore these requests:
If the measure passed, the state Office of Information Practices could declare an individual a "vexatious requester" and restrict rights to government records for two years.

The state has continued to be induated with requests on Obama's birth certificate, even after verifying the information:
So-called "birthers" claim Obama is ineligible to be president because, they argue, he was actually born outside the United States, and therefore doesn't meet a constitutional requirement for being president.

Hawaii Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino issued statements last year and in October 2008 saying that she's seen vital records that prove Obama is a natural-born American citizen.
But the state still gets between 10 and 20 e-mails seeking verification of Obama's birth each week, most of them from outside Hawaii, Kim said Tuesday.

A few of these requesters continue to pepper the Health Department with the same letters 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. Responding wastes time and money, Kim said.

Both Fukino and the state registrar of vital statistics have verified that the Health Department holds Obama's original birth certificate.

Of course by blocking requests, it could make the issue even more contentious:
"Do we really want to be known internationally as the Legislature that blocked any inquiries into where President Obama was born?" asked Rep. Cynthia Thielen, R-Kaneohe-Kailua. "When people want to get more information, the way to fuel that fire is to say, 'We're now going to draw down a veil of secrecy.'"

As one attorney stated, why bother at all, just only answer each question once:
Attorney Peter Fritz asked why the state would pass a law punishing repetitive requests for open records. Instead, the state could simply say it would only answer each person's question once.

In any case, as we can see by the fact this is being discussed at all, questions surrounding Obama's birth certificate continue to flow.

There have been questioned floated about on whether Andrew Jackson was born in the US as well. There is also a question, assuming he was, if he was born in North or South Carolina. This is an article that refutes that Jackson was born at sea.

2 comments:

franceshunter said...

This just seems mystifying. Why don't they just create a special web page, digitize the related documents, and make the digital surrogates available to all?

Jennie W said...

First, a government body would be need to be "practical!" [Yes, yes, I'm complaining, but in a non-partisan way, as I try not to put any political agenda here.]

I think the base issue, in reality, is that the Obama's birth certificate is actually not a "public" document and according to HI state law can't be released to just anyone (they need a "tangible" interest). For instance, I can't go to the court house and request your birth certificate if you were born in HI (this might vary from state to state since the aricle did say "state" law). You have to have some connection or permission to get it.

What Obama should do is allow that - after all, all recent Presidents have realized tax documents, so this isn't that big of leap. At least all the birth certificates I've seen don't carry any information that is really that "private."