Session of 1997
HOUSE BILL No. 2380
By Representatives O'Connor, Boston, Donovan, Franklin, Gilmore,
Howell, Phill Kline, Landwehr, P. Long, Mays, Mollenkamp, Packer,
Presta and Pugh
11 AN ACT relating to public officers; concerning the oath taken by certain
12 officers elected or appointed under the laws of the state of Kansas;
13 requiring the taking of examinations regarding such oath and providing
14 for the administration of the provisions of the act; amending K.S.A.
15 54-106 and repealing the existing section.
17 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
18 New Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the
19 constitutional examination act.
20 Sec. 2. K.S.A. 54-106 is hereby amended to read as follows: 54-106.
21 (a) All officers elected or appointed under any law of the state of Kansas
22 shall, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices, take and
23 subscribe an oath or affirmation, as follows:
24 ``I do solemnly swear or affirm, as the case may be that I will support the constitution of
25 the United States and the constitution of the state of Kansas, and faithfully discharge the
26 duties of ____________. So help me God.''
27 (b) On and after July 1, 1996, each person seeking appointment or
28 election to any state office requiring the taking of such oath shall take a
29 written examination designed to determine such person's general knowl-
30 edge of the provisions of both the constitution of the United States and
31 the constitution of the state of Kansas, in the manner prescribed by this
32 act. As used in this subsection, ``state office'' means the office of governor,
33 lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer,
34 commissioner of insurance, state senator, state representative, member of
35 the state board of education and any appointive office for which the ap-
36 pointment is subject to confirmation by the senate as provided in K.S.A.
37 75-4315b and amendments thereto.
38 New Sec. 3. (a) The state board of regents shall appoint a committee
39 of three members who shall design and prepare both the examination
40 and the handbook for persons taking such examination as required by this
41 act. Persons appointed to membership on the committee shall be mem-
42 bers of the faculty of institutions under the control of the board of regents,
43 having recognized knowledge and experience involving the study and ap-
1 plication of the constitutions of the United States and the state of Kansas.
2 Members of the committee shall serve at the pleasure of the state board
3 of regents and shall organize and meet at such times as may be deter-
4 mined by members of the committee to be necessary to perform the
5 duties imposed by this act. The state board of regents shall provide such
6 staff assistance as may be required by the committee in the performance
7 of its duties.
8 (b) The committee shall prepare a written examination which will
9 determine the general knowledge of persons taking such examination
10 concerning the structure and provisions of the constitutions of the United
11 States and the state of Kansas. Examination questions shall not require
12 in-depth, technical or legal knowledge or understanding of the provisions
13 of such constitutions and shall not ask for an opinion on or an interpre-
14 tation of the provisions of such constitutions.
15 (c) In addition to the examination such committee shall prepare a
16 handbook containing information which will enable persons taking such
17 examination to successfully pass the same. Such information shall include
18 the complete text of both the constitution of the United States and the
19 constitution of the state of Kansas, a brief nontechnical description of the
20 structure and provisions of such constitutions and any additional materials
21 which the committee may determine to be of assistance in developing an
22 understanding of such constitutions.
23 (d) Upon completion of the examination and handbook the commit-
24 tee shall file a copy of each with the secretary of state who shall provide
25 for the printing and distribution of the same in the manner provided in
26 this act.
27 New Sec. 4. (a) Any person seeking election to a state office shall
28 take such written examination and the results thereof be filed not less
29 than two weeks prior to any election at which such person is a candidate.
30 A person seeking appointment to a state office shall take such written
31 examination and the results thereof be filed at any time prior to taking
32 the oath of office. Results of examinations taken by persons seeking elec-
33 tion to state offices elected on a statewide basis shall be filed in the office
34 of the secretary of state. Results of examinations taken by persons seeking
35 election to state offices, other than state offices elected on a statewide
36 basis, shall be filed in both the office of the secretary of state and in the
37 office of the county election officer of the county in which the person is
38 a resident. Results of examinations taken by persons seeking appointment
39 to any state office shall be filed in the state personnel files of such officer.
40 Results of examinations taken by all officers, elected or appointed, in
41 accordance with this act shall be open public records and be open to
42 inspection as such.
43 (b) Written examinations for each person seeking election or appoint-
1 ment to a state office shall be conducted under the supervision of the
2 office of the secretary of state or under the supervision of another officer
3 of the state or a county election officer, when authorized by the secretary
4 of state for the convenience of the person seeking to take the examination.
5 The office of the secretary of state shall be responsible for the determi-
6 nation of the results of examinations taken by persons seeking election or
7 appointment to state offices, and for the filing thereof in accordance with
8 this act. The secretary of state shall provide copies of the handbook to all
9 persons required to take examinations under the provisions of this act and
10 shall provide copies of both the written examination and the handbook
11 to all county election officers and other officers responsible for the su-
12 pervision of the conduct of such examinations.
13 (c) Examinations conducted under provisions of this act shall be
14 open-book tests and the handbook may be utilized by persons in deter-
15 mining answers in the process of taking such examinations. The percent-
16 age of correct or incorrect answers by any person on such an examination
17 shall not affect the qualification of such person to seek and hold any office.
18 Any person may repeat the taking of such examination and if a larger
19 number of correct answers are achieved, such higher score shall be placed
20 in the records of the person taking the examination and shall replace the
21 previous results.
22 (d) As used in this section, ``state office'' has the meaning ascribed
23 thereto by subsection (b) of K.S.A. 54-106 and amendments thereto.
24 Sec. 5. K.S.A. 54-106 is hereby repealed.
25 Sec. 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its
26 publication in the statute book.