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Will Hawaii Law Say Aloha to Constant Birther Requests?

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on April 22, 2010 1:15 PM

It looks like the government agencies of the great state of Hawaii are just sick and tired of dealing with the crazies. So much so, that their legislature has had to come to the rescue. A bill is making its way through the Hawaii state legislature to allow state agencies to ignore repeated (and repeated) requests for certain things, such as President Barack Obama's birth certificate.

According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the now amended version of Senate Bill 2937 completed the review by a joint House-Senate conference committee on April 20, and is now ready for a vote in each chamber. The "anti-birther" bill was the brain-child of the Hawaii state Health Department, which has had to field nearly daily requests for copies of the President's birth certificate.

Despite being refused, since state law prohibits the release of such information to anyone who does not have a "tangible inertest," many buzzing birthers continue to submit the same request. Over, and over. The Star-Bulletin reports the Health Department testified it still gets between 10 and 20 emails seeking verification of the President's birth each week, most of them from outside Hawaii.

The bill has been amended from its original version to narrowly tailor an agency's ability to ignore requests for information. Agencies would not be required to respond to follow-up requests for information if, after a "good faith review and comparison," the subsequent request is deemed duplicative or substantially similar to a previous request. Further, agencies also would not be required to respond to subsequent requests if the initial pending request had been responded to in the past year, or if the agency's response to the request would remain unchanged.

Some fear the law is still not narrow enough to prevent legitimate requests for information from being ignored. "In trying to address a very specific problem that they have encountered, they're creating an amendment that I think provides a big loophole for government bureaucrats in terms of ignoring legitimate requests," Gerald Kato, a University of Hawaii journalism professor, told the Star-Bulletin. Perhaps the professor should remember that sort of thing can happen nearly any day on line at the DMV of nearly any state. 

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