The Civil Competency and Qualifications Act
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS; PURPOSE.
- SHORT TITLE.—This Act may be cited as the “Civil Competency and Qualifications Act” or the “Civics Act of 2023”.
- TABLE OF CONTENTS.—The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec 1. Short Title; Table of Contents; Purpose
Sec 2. Qualifications for Federal Office
Sec 3. Administration
Sec 4. Rules of Construction
Sec 5. Definitions
- PURPOSE.—The purpose of this Act is to establish minimum qualifications of competency for candidates to Federal Office within the Government of the United States of America.
SEC. 2. QUALIFICATIONS FOR FEDERAL OFFICE.
- IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provisions of federal or state law, candidates for office within the Government of the United States of America must demonstrate, through the passage of a regular, standardised, universal Exam, their appreciation for and knowledge of the functions, construction, and responsibilities of the Government of the United States of America covering the following subject areas:
- ORGANISATION.—The functional organisation of the federal government; to cover the three branches of government, executive departments and agencies, military and civil services, judicial districts and courts, and congressional houses and offices.
- OPERATION.—How the government functions in practice.
- FUNCTION.—What the role of each branch, office, and agency is within the government.
- THEORY.—The principles and concepts which underlie the Government of the United States of America.
- HISTORY.—History of the United States of America; to include significant events and milestones from the colonial period through the present, the Civil War and slavery, major wars and conflicts to which the United States has been a party, and the general milieu of the country.
- FEDERALISM.—The principles and concepts of federalism, how a federal system operates, and what makes the United States of America a federal-style government.
- THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION.—History, text, and meaning of the Constitution of the United States of America; to include the Constitutional Convention of 1787, text of the Constitution and its areas of governance, and interpretation of the Constitution as read and as clarified by Supreme Court Rulings
- APPLICATION.—§2(1) shall apply to all elected positions within the Government of the United States of America, regardless of branch or term of office, up to and including the President of the United States.
SEC. 3. ADMINISTRATION.
- IN GENERAL.—The creation and maintenance, administration, and keeping of records of the Exam defined in §2(1) of this Act shall be the responsibility of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
- NARA shall be responsible for all aspects of the Exam, its development, its scoring, and the maintenance of its records without exception and may not be directed by any political office to edit, modify, or alter the contents of the Exam or its constituent questions.
- NARA shall report to the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee any revisions, additions, or other alterations to the Exam prior to the implementation of said changes for Congressional Approval.
- The House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee may, by a majority vote, approve or deny proposed changes from NARA to the Exam.
- The subcommittee may not instruct NARA to draft or implement specific or thematic changes.
- EXAMINATION.—Testing shall be made available online through NARA twice each calendar year through a secure, digital platform and must be completed prior to the filing of any Notice of Candidacy Form(s) as required by any state board of elections or offices.
- QUALIFICATION SCORE.—In order to qualify for candidacy for Office, one must pass the Exam defined in §2(1) of this Act with ninety percent (90%) proficiency.
- REQUIREMENT.—An official, passing transcript of the Exam shall be required to be included with any Potential Candidate’s Notice of Candidacy Form(s) filed with their state board of elections or offices in order to officially declare candidacy for Office.
- ACCESSIBILITY.—The Exam shall be made available in alternative formats for citizens who require accommodation for a disability or lack of access to the Internet; to include—but not limited to—verbal examination, in-home proctoring of a written exam, and/or the use of Assistive Technology devices such as—but not limited to—screen-readers, braille devices, and other assistive technologies. Potential Candidates may not use or request the use of notes, “cheat sheets,” or “open books” as an accessibility accommodation.
SEC. 4. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.
- IN GENERAL.—Nothing within this Act shall serve to permanently disqualify a Potential Candidate for elected office within the Government of the United States of America.
- QUALIFICATION.—Potential Candidates for elected office shall only be required to present a qualifying score as defined in §3(3) to the Exam once, which shall be held as qualification for any elected office for the remainder of the Potential Candidate’s lifetime. NARA shall be responsible for the keeping and maintenance of Exam records in perpetuity.
- REPETITION.—The Exam may only be taken by a Potential Candidate once per exam season as defined by §3(2), but may be taken an unlimited number of times throughout the lifetime of any Potential Candidate.
SEC. 5. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
- EXAM.—The term “Exam” has the meaning of a formal test of a person’s knowledge or proficiency.
- DISABILITY.—The Term “Disability” has the meaning given the term in 42 U.S. Code § 12102.
- ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY.—The term “Assistive Technology” has the meaning given the term in 34 CFR § 300.5–300.6.
- ELECTED OFFICE.—The term “Elected Office” has the meaning of any public office in the Government of the United States for which a candidate stands for election by the People.
- POTENTIAL CANDIDATE.—The term “Potential Candidate” has the meaning of any citizen, who is otherwise qualified by statute, who wishes to stand for election to public office within the Government of the United States.
- CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL.—The term “Congressional Approval” has the meaning of ascent from the necessary body of Congress of the United States of America.
- PROFICIENCY.—The term “Proficiency” has the meaning of demonstrated competence and understanding of required information and material.