Session of 1999
HOUSE BILL No. 2464
By Representative O'Connor
9 AN ACT relating to public officers; enacting the constitutional awareness
10 act; concerning the oath taken by certain officers elected or appointed
11 under the laws of the state of Kansas; requiring the taking of exami-
12 nations regarding such oath and providing for the administration of
13 the provisions of the act; amending K.S.A. 54-106 and repealing the
14 existing section.
16 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
17 New Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the
18 constitutional awareness act.
19 Sec. 2. K.S.A. 54-106 is hereby amended to read as follows: 54-106.
20 (a) All officers elected or appointed under any law of the state of Kansas
21 shall, before entering upon the duties of their respective offices, take and
22 subscribe an oath or affirmation, as follows:
23 "I do solemnly swear [or affirm, as the case may be] that I will support the constitution
24 of the United States and the constitution of the state of Kansas, and faithfully discharge the
25 duties of ________. So help me God."
26 (b) On and after July 1, 2000, each person seeking appointment or
27 election to any state office requiring the taking of such oath shall take a
28 written examination designed to determine such person's general knowl-
29 edge of the provisions of both the constitution of the United States and
30 the constitution of the state of Kansas, in the manner prescribed by this
31 act. As used in this subsection, "state office" means the office of governor,
32 lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer,
33 commissioner of insurance, state senator, state representative, member of
34 the state board of education and any appointive office for which the ap-
35 pointment is subject to confirmation by the senate as provided in K.S.A.
36 75-4315b and amendments thereto.
37 New Sec. 3. (a) The state board of regents shall appoint a committee
38 of three members who shall design and prepare both the examination
39 and the handbook for persons taking such examination as required by this
40 act. Persons appointed to membership on the committee shall be mem-
41 bers of the faculty of state educational institutions under the control and
42 supervision of the state board of regents, having recognized knowledge
43 and experience involving the study and application of the constitutions of
44 the United States and the state of Kansas. Members of the committee
45 shall serve at the pleasure of the state board of regents and shall organize
46 and meet at such times as may be determined by members of the com-
47 mittee to be necessary to perform the duties imposed by this act. The
48 state board of regents shall provide such staff assistance as may be re-
49 quired by the committee in the performance of its duties.
50 (b) The committee shall prepare a written examination which will
51 determine the general knowledge of persons taking such examination
52 concerning the structure and provisions of the constitutions of the United
53 States and the state of Kansas. Examination questions shall not require
54 in-depth, technical or legal knowledge or understanding of the provisions
55 of such constitutions and shall not ask for an opinion on or an interpre-
56 tation of the provisions of such constitutions.
57 (c) In addition to the examination such committee shall prepare a
58 handbook containing information which will enable persons taking such
59 examination to successfully pass the examination. Such information shall
60 include the complete text of both the constitution of the United States
61 and the constitution of the state of Kansas, a brief nontechnical descrip-
62 tion of the structure and provisions of such constitutions and any addi-
63 tional materials which the committee may determine to be of assistance
64 in developing an understanding of such constitutions.
65 (d) Upon completion of the examination and handbook the commit-
66 tee shall file a copy of each with the secretary of state who shall provide
67 for the printing and distribution of the examination and handbook in the
68 manner provided in this act.
69 New Sec. 4. (a) Any person seeking election to a state office shall
70 take such written examination, and the results thereof shall be filed not
71 less than two weeks prior to any election at which such person is a can-
72 didate. A person seeking appointment to a state office shall take such
73 written examination and the results thereof shall be filed at any time prior
74 to taking the oath of office. Results of examinations taken by persons
75 seeking election to state offices elected on a statewide basis shall be filed
76 in the office of the secretary of state. Results of examinations taken by
77 persons seeking election to state offices, other than state offices elected
78 on a statewide basis, shall be filed in both the office of the secretary of
79 state and in the office of the county election officer of the county in which
80 the person is a resident. Results of examinations taken by persons seeking
81 appointment to any state office shall be filed in the state personnel files
82 of such officer. Results of examinations taken by all officers, elected or
83 appointed, in accordance with this act shall be open public records and
84 be open to inspection as such.
85 (b) Written examinations for each person seeking election or appoint-
86 ment to a state office shall be conducted under the supervision of the
87 office of the secretary of state or under the supervision of another officer
88 of the state or a county election officer, when authorized by the secretary
89 of state for the convenience of the person seeking to take the examination.
90 The office of the secretary of state shall be responsible for the determi-
91 nation of the results of examinations taken by persons seeking election or
92 appointment to state offices, and for the filing thereof in accordance with
93 this act. The secretary of state shall provide copies of the handbook to all
94 persons required to take examinations under the provisions of this act and
95 shall provide copies of both the written examination and the handbook
96 to all county election officers and other officers responsible for the su-
97 pervision of the conduct of such examinations.
98 (c) Examinations conducted under provisions of this act shall be
99 open-book tests and the handbook may be utilized by persons in deter-
100 mining answers in the process of taking such examinations. The percent-
101 age of correct or incorrect answers by any person on such an examination
102 shall not affect the qualification of such person to seek and hold any office.
103 Any person may repeat the taking of such examination and if a larger
104 number of correct answers are achieved, such higher score shall be placed
105 in the records of the person taking the examination and shall replace the
106 previous results.
107 (d) As used in this section, "state office" has the meaning ascribed
108 thereto by subsection (b) of K.S.A. 54-106 and amendments thereto.
109 Sec. 5. K.S.A. 54-106 is hereby repealed.
110 Sec. 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its
111 publication in the statute book.