Tired of requests from so-called "birthers" asking to see Obama's birth certificate -- and hoping to make a dent in the state's projected $800 million budget deficit -- state legislators have proposed a bill that would offer a copy of the coveted document to anyone who asks and charge a $100 fee.
"If it passes, it will calm the birthers down," Rep. Rida Cabanilla said, according to The Associated Press. "All these people are still doubting it because they don't want the birth certificate from Obama. They want it from our state office."
Obama issued a certificate of live birth during his 2008 campaign, an official state document confirming that he was born on Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu. But for the next two years, Hawaii health officials continued to receive phone calls and e-mail requests asking for the records directly from the state, mostly from people who say they suspect Obama was born in Kenya or Indonesia and is therefore ineligible to be president.
Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said he wants to end the controversy by offering access to the birth record. But Hawaii cannot release it because of the state's privacy laws, something the proposed legislation, if enacted, would change.
"If the people are so concerned about Barack Obama and if he was actually born in Hawaii, born in the United States, let them pay a fee of 100 bucks," said Rep. John Mizuno, according to KHON2 News in Hawaii. "We can certainly use the money, and we don't need to hear their complaining anymore."
Two years into Obama's presidency, birther conspiracy theories about his place of birth have abated somewhat, but continue to generate political controversy. Earlier this month, Minnesota radio host Mike Evans said he was a friend of Abercrombie's and claimed the governor told him he couldn't find Obama's birth records. Later, though, Evans said he "misspoke" and apologized.