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State lawmakers debate 'birther' bill

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The issue of whether President Obama was qualified to run for the Oval Office is behind a bill up for discussion at the State Capitol. Monday is the last day for House bills to move out of Committee.

As state lawmakers worked through a back-log of bills, Ed Sunderland was down stairs in the Capitol Annex waiting next to an empty committee room. He took the day off and drove to Austin from his home in Flower Mound to testify for legislation he believes will protect the Texas ballot box.

"The Parties are the ones that determine the paperwork and the qualifications for candidacy to get on the Texas ballot and they're different there's nothing that's the same so what's this bill is trying to do is level the playing field so there is a specific application for every candidate to get on the ballot," said Sunderland.

Sunderland is what some may describe as a ‘birther.' He is adamant that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. and therefore was not qualified to be on any Presidential ballot. It's an accusation that had Sunderland making a simple request.

"Somebody should have done something about that," he said.

That somebody for this session is Arlington Republican Bill Zedler

He filed HB 650 which would require the Texas Sec. of State to basically do a citizenship background check. The check list includes verifying that each candidate running for president in Texas is a natural born U.S. citizen. Certified copies of the candidate's birth certificate would have to be provided. But this republican drafted Birther Bill could also cause problems for an up and coming GOP star Senator Ted Cruz, who got a big reception at the NRA convention in Houston last week.

"Yeah if anyone should be concern about this legislation is our current US Senator from Texas. He is the one that's got residency issues," said McDonald.

Here's the rub. According to political analyst Chuck McDonald, Cruz was born in Canada. But he has an oval office loophole. His mother had American citizenship and because of her status, he is considered a natural born citizen. This congressional report verified that argument for Cruz two years ago ironically for the president. While the issue could cause a headache for Cruz on the campaign trail McDonald says HB 650 has little political value.

"I think the capacity for inane and idiotic legislation is as infinite as the universe."

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