PHOENIX - Barack Obama won't be required to produce his birth certificate for Arizona officials if he decides to run for re-election.
Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, said Thursday not enough of the 18 Republicans in the state Senate support the House-approved measure. And with all 12 Democrats opposed, Harper said it makes no sense to force the issue to a vote.
But Harper defended the merits of the change, rebuffing claims by critics it is silly.
Rep. Judy Burges, R-Skull Valley, introduced the measure in the wake of controversy of whether Obama is a "natural born citizen" of the United States, as required by the U.S. Constitution.
Burges said the measure is not necessarily about Obama. But she admitted she doubts he was born in Hawaii as he claims, or that he can show he is a U.S. citizen.
"With what's happening throughout the world, that we need to make sure that our candidates are certifiable," she said. .
"We want to make sure that we have candidates that are going to stand up for the United States of America," Burges said.
As approved by the House, the language Burges inserted into a related Harper bill would have required political parties to submit to the Arizona secretary of state "documents that prove the candidate is a natural born citizen, prove the candidate's age and prove that the candidate meets the residency requirements for President of the United States."
It would have given the secretary of state unilateral power to keep a candidate off the Arizona ballot if he or she has "reasonable cause" to believe the candidate is not qualified.
Harper supported the change and lobbied his GOP colleagues to approve the House version. He said, though, it's not a partisan thing.
"It's not about Barack Obama," Harper said. "He has shown his birth certificates and birth announcements, from the time he was born, in Hawaii newspapers."
What it is about, Harper said, is "states' rights."