Session of 1999
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.