Government Code Title 1, Division 4, Chapter 2, Article 4 specifies the oath of office in Sections 1360 to 1369. Article 4 was enacted in 1943. Section 1360 provides that, following any election or appointment and, before any officer enters on the duties of his or her office, he or she must take and subscribe the oath or affirmation that is set forth in Section 3 of Article XX of the Constitution of California.
Article 20, Section 3 provides:
“Members of the Legislature, and all public officers and employees, executive, legislative, and judicial, except such inferior officers and employees as may be by law exempted, shall, before they enter upon the duties of their respective offices, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation:
“I, ___________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.
“And I do further swear (or affirm) that I do not advocate, nor am I a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise, that now advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means; that within the five years immediately preceding the taking of this oath (or affirmation) I have not been a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise, that advocated the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means except as follows:
_____ (If no affiliations, write in the words “No Exceptions”) _____
and that during such time as I hold the office of _____ (name of office) _____
I will not advocate nor become a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise, that advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States or of the State of California by force or violence or other unlawful means.”
“And no other oath, declaration, or test, shall be required as a qualification for any public office or employment. ‘Public officer and employee’ include every officer and employee of the State, including the University of California, every county, city, city and county, district, and authority, including any department, division, bureau, board, commission, agency, or instrumentality of any of the foregoing.”
Government Code Section 1362 specifies that the oath may be taken before any officer authorized to administer oaths. Section 1363 requires every oath of office to be certified by the officer before whom it was taken. Thereafter, the officer must file it with specified entities. For example, the oath of all officers elected or appointed for any county must be filed in the office of the county clerk of their respective counties.
Section 1364 provides that it is unlawful to remove a person from an office or position of public trust because that person has not complied with any law, charter, or regulation prescribing an additional test or qualification for such office or position of public trust, other than tests and qualifications provided for under civil service and retirement laws. In addition, Section 1365 notes that it is unlawful for any person having the power of removal from office of any officer to remove or threaten to remove the officer from his office because the officer refuses to require any additional test or qualification, other than the oath prescribed by this article.
Section 1367 prohibits any compensation or reimbursement for expenses incurred from being paid to any officer by any public agency unless he or she has taken and subscribed to the oath or affirmation required by this chapter. Section 1368 makes every person who, while taking and subscribing to the oath or affirmation required by this chapter, and states as true any material matter which he or she knows to be false, guilty of perjury.
Finally, Section 1369 specifies that every person having taken and subscribed to the oath or affirmation required by this chapter, who while holding office, advocates or becomes a member of any party or organization, political or otherwise, that advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States by force or violence or other unlawful means, is guilty of a felony.
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