Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- With controversy swirling around President Barack Obama's citizenship status, the president released his long form birth certificate on Wednesday.
But two Republican state lawmakers are still eyeing a measure that would require a presidential candidate to prove citizenship to Louisiana officials to become eligible on a state ballot.
Under House Bill 561, federal candidates would have to present an original or certified copy of their birth certificate in order to appear on a Louisiana ballot.
State Rep. Juan Lafonta, D-New Orleans, said he isn't surprised the measure didn't die after the president's announcement today.
'I think it's more of a media thing, and they're gonna grab onto it, because it's a challenge to the presidency from the Louisiana state legislature,' Lafonta said. 'At the end of the day, it's not a challenge for anything, it's just a bill that gives somebody a lot of press to run for reelection.'
But state Sen. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, the bill's co-author, maintains the measure is less about the president, and more about clarifying Louisiana's laws.
UNO Political Science Professor Ed Chervenak said, politically, it makes sense for Crowe to stick with his plan.
'(Crowe) represents one of the most famously conservative districts, not just in the state, but in the country, and so, this is something that resonates with his constituents,' Chervenak said. 'Once he put it out there, he can't back down in front of his constituents, and also the governor has given him cover as well, by saying he will sign it.'
New Orleanians we talked with Wednesday hope, either way, the bill doesn't derail lawmakers from tackling other issues.
'Our state has a lot of problems -- unemployment, you know, our financial situation, New Orleans in particular. We need to be focusing on those things,' said Katie Spillman.
Daniel Drazba agrees, saying he focused on other state and national issues.
'There's bigger things to worry about. We've got the war. We've got the economy to worry about, healthcare,' he said.