Adopted by the
We, the people
of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty,
in order to secure its blessings and to form a more perfect government, insuring
domestic tranquility, maintaining public order, and guaranteeing equal civil
and political rights to all, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
1. All men are equal before the law, and have certain inalienable rights,
among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring,
possessing and protecting property, and pursuing happiness and obtaining safety.
2. All political
power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection,
security and benefit of the citizens, and they have the right to alter or amend
the same whenever the public good may require it; but the paramount allegiance
of every citizen is due to the Federal Government, and the people of this State
have no power to dissolve its connection therewith.
3. The right
of trial by jury shall be secured to all, and remain inviolate forever.
4. All courts
in the State shall be open, so that every person for any injury done him in
his lands, goods, person or reputation shall have remedy, by due course of law,
and right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay.
5. The free exercise
and enjoyment of religious profession and worship shall forever be allowed in
this State, and no person shall be rendered incompetent as a witness on account
of his religious opinions; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall
not be so construed as to justify licentiousness
or practices subversive of, or inconsistent with, the peace or moral safety
of the State or society.
6. No preference
shall be given by law to any church, sect or mode of worship, and no money shall
ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any
church, sect or religious denomination, or in aid of any sectarian institution.
7. The writ of
habeas corpus shall be grantable speedily and of right, freely and
without cost, and shall never be suspended unless, in case of rebellion or invasion,
the public safety may require its suspension.
bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines be imposed, nor cruel or unusual
punishment or indefinite imprisonment be allowed, nor shall witnesses be unreasonably
9. All persons
shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, where
the proof is evident or the presumption great.
10. No person
shall be tried for a capital crime or other felony, unless on presentment or
indictment by grand jury, except as is otherwise provided in this Constitution,
and except in cases of impeachment, and in cases in the militia when in active
service in time of war, or which the State, with the consent of Congress, may
keep, in time of peace.
11. In all criminal
prosecutions the accused shall have the right to a speedy and public trial,
by an impartial jury, in the county where the crime was committed, and shall
be heard by himself, or counsel, or both, to demand the nature and cause of
the accusation against him, to meet the witnesses against him face to face,
and have compulsory process for the attendance of witnesses in his favor, and
shall be furnished with a copy of the indictment against him.
12. No person
shall be subject to be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense, nor compelled
in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life,
liberty or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be
taken without just compensation.
13. Every person
may fully speak and write his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible
for the abuse of that right, and no laws shall be passed to restrain or abridge
the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions and civil
actions for libel the truth may be given in evidence to the jury, and if it
shall appear that the matter charged as libelous is true, and was published
for good motives, the party shall be acquitted or exonerated.
14. No person
shall be compelled to pay costs except after conviction, on a final trial.
15. The people
shall have the right to assemble together to consult for the common good, to
instruct their representatives, and to petition the Legislature for redress
16. No person
shall be imprisoned for debts except in cases of fraud.
17. No bill of
attainder, ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation
of contracts, shall ever be passed.
shall have the same rights as to the ownership, inheritance and disposition
of property in this State as citizens of the State.
19. Neither slavery
nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party
has been duly convicted, shall ever be allowed in this State.
20. The right
of the people to bear arms in defense of themselves and the lawful authority
of the State, shall not be infringed, but the Legislature may prescribe the
manner in which they may be borne.
21. The military
shall in all cases and at all times be in strict subordination to the civil
22. The right
of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against
unreasonable seizures and searches, shall not be violated, and no warrants issued
but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, particularly describing
the place or places to be searched, and the person or persons, and thing or
things to be seized.
23. Treason against
the State shall consist only in levying war against it, adhering to its enemies,
or giving them aid and comfort; and no person shall be convicted of treason
except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or confession
in open court, and no conviction for treason shall work corruption of blood
or forfeiture of estate.
24. This enunciation
of rights shall not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people.
of the State of Florida shall be as follows: Commencing at the mouth of the
river Perdido; from thence up the middle of said river to where it intersects
the south boundary line of the State of Alabama, and the thirty-first degree
of north latitude; thence due east to the Chattahoochee river; thence down the
middle of said river to its confluence with the Flint river; thence straight
to the head of the St. Marys river; thence down the middle of said river to
the Atlantic ocean; thence southeastwardly along the coast to the edge of the
Gulf Stream; thence southwestwardly along the edge of the Gulf Stream and Florida
Reefs to and including the Tortugas islands; thence northeastwardly to a point
three leagues from the mainland; thence northwestwardly three leagues from the
land, to a point west of the mouth of the Perdido river; thence to the place
of the government of the State of Florida shall be divided into three departments:
Legislative, Executive and Judicial; and no person properly belonging to one
of the departments shall exercise any powers appertaining to either of the others,
except in cases expressly provided for by this Constitution.
1. The Legislative
authority of this State shall be vested in a Senate and a House of Representatives,
which shall be designated, "The Legislature of the State of Florida," and the
sessions thereof shall be held at the seat of government of the State.
2. The regular
sessions of the Legislature shall be held biennially, commencing on the first
Tuesday after the first Monday in April, A. D. 1887, and on the corresponding
day of every second year thereafter, but the Governor may convene the same in
extra session by his proclamation. Regular sessions of the Legislature may extend
to sixty days, but no special session convened by the Governor shall exceed
3. The members
of the House of Representatives shall be chosen biennially, those of the first
Legislature on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, A. D. 1886,
and thereafter on the corresponding day of every second year.
4. Senators and
members of the House of Representatives shall be duly qualified electors in
the respective counties and districts for which they were chosen. The pay of
members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall not exceed six dollars
a day for each day of session, and mileage to and from their houses to the seat
of government, not to exceed ten cents a mile each way, by the nearest and most
5. No Senator
or member of the House of Representatives shall, during the time for which he
was elected, be appointed or elected to any civil office under the Constitution
of this State, that has been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been
increased during such time.
6. Each House
shall judge of the qualifications, elections and returns of its own members,
choose its own officers, and determine the rules of its proceedings.
The Senate shall, at the convening of each regular session thereof, choose from
among its own members a permanent President of the Senate, who shall be its
presiding officer. The House of Representatives shall, at the convening of each
regular session thereof, choose from among its own members a permanent Speaker
of the House of Representatives, who shall be its presiding officer. Each House
may punish its own members for disorderly conduct; and each House, with the
concurrence of two-thirds of all of its members present, may expel a member.
7. No person
holding a lucrative office or appointment under the United States or this State,
shall be eligible to a seat in the Legislature of this State.
8. The seat of
a member of either House shall be vacated on his permanent change of residence
from the district or county from which he was elected.
9. Either House
during the session may punish by fine or imprisonment any person not a member
who shall have been guilty of disorderly or contemptuous conduct in its presence,
or of a refusal to obey its lawful summons, but such imprisonment shall not
extend beyond the final adjournment of the session.
10. Either House
shall have power to compel the attendance of witnesses upon any investigations
held by itself, or by any of its committees; the manner of the exercise of such
power shall be provided by law.
11. A majority
of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number
may adjourn from day to day, and compel the presence of absent members in such
manner and under such penalties as it may prescribe.
12. Each House
shall keep a journal of its own proceedings, which shall be published, and the
yeas and nays of the members of either House on any question shall, at the desire
of any five members present, be entered on the Journal.
13. The doors
of each House shall be kept open during its session, except the Senate while
sitting in Executive session; and neither shall, without the consent of the
other, adjourn for more than three days, or to any other town than that in which
they may be holding their session.
14. Any bill
may originate in either House of the Legislature, and after being passed in
one House may be amended in the other.
15. The enacting
clause of every law shall be as follows: "Be it enacted by the Legislature of
the State of Florida."
16. Each law
enacted in the Legislature shall embrace but one subject and matter properly
connected therewith, which subject shall be briefly expressed in the title;
and no law shall be amended or revised by reference to its title only; but in
such case the act, as revised, or section, as amended, shall be re-enacted and
published at length.
17. Every bill
shall be read by sections on three several days in each House, unless, in case
of emergency, two-thirds of the House where such bill may be pending shall deem
it expedient to dispense with this rule; but the reading of a bill by sections
on its final passage shall in no case be dispensed with, and the vote on the
final passage of every bill or joint resolution shall be taken by yeas and nays,
to be entered on the Journal of each House; Provided, That any general
revision of the entire laws embodied in any bill shall not be required to be
read by sections upon its final passage, and its reading may be wholly dispensed
with by a two-thirds vote; and a majority of the members present in each House
shall be necessary to pass every bill or joint resolution; and all bills or
joint resolutions so passed shall be signed by the presiding officers of the
respective Houses, and by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House
18. No law shall
take effect until sixty days from the final adjournment of the session of the
Legislature at which it may have been enacted, unless otherwise specially
provided in such law.
statements of the receipts and expenditures of the public money shall be attached
to and published with the laws passed at every regular session of the Legislature.
20. The Legislature
shall not pass special or local laws in any of the following enumerated cases:
that is to say, regulating the jurisdiction and duties of any class of officers,
except municipal officers, or for the punishment of crime or misdemeanor; regulating
the practice of courts of justice, except municipal courts; providing for changing
venue of civil and criminal cases; granting divorces; changing the names of
persons; vacating roads; summoning and empaneling grand and petit juries, and
providing for their compensation; for assessment and collection of taxes for
State and county purposes; for opening and conducting elections for State and
county officers, and for designating the places of voting; for the sale of real
estate belonging to minors, estates of decedents, and of persons laboring under
legal disabilities; regulating the fees of officers of the State and county;
giving effect to informal or invalid deeds or wills; legitimizing children;
providing for the adoption of children; relieving minors from legal disabilities;
and for the establishment of ferries.
21. In all cases
enumerated in the preceding section all laws shall be general and of uniform
operation throughout the State, but in all cases not enumerated or excepted
in that section, the Legislature may pass special or local laws; Provided,
That no local or special bill shall be passed, unless notice of the intention
to apply therefor shall have been published in the locality where the matter
or thing to be affected may be situated, which notice shall state the substance
of the contemplated law, and shall be published at least sixty days prior to
the introduction into the Legislature of such bill, and in the manner to be
provided by law. The evidence that such notice has been published shall be established
in the Legislature before such bill shall be passed.
may be made by general law for bringing suit against the State
as to all liabilities now existing or hereafter originating.
are hereby prohibited in this State.
24. The Legislature
shall establish a uniform system of county and municipal government, which shall
be applicable, except in cases where local or special laws are provided by the
Legislature that may be inconsistent therewith.
25. The Legislature
shall provide by general law for incorporating such educational, agricultural,
mechanical, mining and other useful companies or associations as may be deemed
26. Laws shall
be passed regulating elections, and prohibiting, under adequate penalties, all
undue influence thereon from power, bribery, tumult or other improper practice.
27. The Legislature
shall provide for the election by the people or appointment by the Governor
of all State and county officers not otherwise provided for by this Constitution,
and fix by law their duties and compensation.
28. Every bill
that may have passed the Legislature shall, before becoming a law, be presented
to the Governor; if he approves it he shall sign it, but if not he shall return
it with his objections to the House in which it originated, which House shall
cause such objections to be entered upon its Journal, and proceed to reconsider
it; if, after such reconsideration, it shall pass both Houses by a two-thirds
vote of members present, which vote shall be entered on the Journal of each
House, it shall become a law. If any bill shall not be returned within five
days after it shall have been presented to the Governor (Sunday excepted) the
same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it. If the Legislature,
by its final adjournment prevent such action, such bill shall be a law, unless
the Governor, within ten days after the adjournment, shall file such bill, with
his objections thereto, in the office of the Secretary of State, who shall lay
the same before the Legislature at its next session, and if the same
shall receive two-thirds of the votes present it shall become a law.
29. The House
of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment; but a vote of two-thirds
of all members present shall be required to impeach any officer; and all impeachments
shall be tried by the Senate. When sitting for that purpose the Senators shall
be upon oath or affirmation, and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence
of two-thirds of the Senators present. The Senate may adjourn to a fixed day
for the trial of any impeachment, and may sit for the purpose of such trial
whether the House of Representatives be in session or not, but the time fixed
for such trial shall not be more than six months from the time articles of impeachment
shall be preferred by the House of Representatives. The Chief Justice shall
preside at all trials by impeachment except in the trial of the Chief Justice,
when the Governor shall preside. The Governor, Administrative officers of the
Executive Department, Justices of the Supreme Court, and Judges of the Circuit
Court shall be liable to impeachment for any misdemeanor in office, but judgment
in such cases shall extend only to removal from office and disqualification
to hold any office of honor, trust or profit under the State; but the party
convicted or acquitted shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial and
punishment according to law.
30. Laws making
appropriations for the salaries of public officers and other current expenses
of the State shall contain provisions on no other subject.
31. The Legislature
shall elect United States Senators in the manner prescribed by the Congress
of the United States and by this Constitution.
32. The repeal
or amendment of any Criminal Statute shall not affect the prosecution or punishment
of any crime committed before such repeal or amendment.
33. No statute
shall be passed lessening the time within which
a civil action may be commenced on any cause of action existing at the time
of its passage.
1. The Supreme
Executive power of the State shall be vested in a Chief Magistrate, who shall
be styled the Governor of Florida.
2. The Governor
shall be elected by the qualified electors of the State at the time and places
of voting for members of the Legislature, and shall hold his office for four
years from the time of his installation, but shall not be eligible for re-election
to said office the next succeeding term; Provided, That the first election
for Governor under this Constitution shall be had at the time and places of
voting for members of the Legislature and State officers, A. D. 1888, and the
term of office of the Governor then elected shall begin on the first Tuesday
after the first Monday in January after his election.
3. No person
shall be eligible to the office of Governor who is not a qualified elector,
and who has not been ten years a citizen of the United States, and five years
a citizen and resident of the State of Florida, next preceding the time of his
election; Provided, That these limitations of time shall not apply
to the President of the Senate or Speaker of the House of Representatives when,
under this Constitution, the powers and duties of Governor shall devolve upon
4. The Governor
shall be Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the State, except when
they shall be called into the service of the United States.
5. The Governor
shall transact all Executive business with the officers of the Government, civil
and military, and may require information in writing from the administrative
officers of the Executive Department upon any subject relating to the duties
of their respective offices.
6. The Governor
shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
7. When any office,
from any cause, shall become vacant, and no mode is provided by this Constitution
or by the laws of the State for filling such vacancy, the Governor shall have
the power to fill such vacancy
by granting a commission for the unexpired term.
8. The Governor
may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the Legislature by proclamation, and
shall in his proclamation state the purpose for which it is to be convened,
and the Legislature when organized shall transact no legislative business other
than that for which it is especially convened, or such other legislative business
as the Governor may call to its attention while in session, except by a two-thirds
vote of each House.
9. The Governor
shall communicate by message to the Legislature at each regular session information
concerning the condition of the State, and recommend such measures as he may
10. In case of
a disagreement between the two Houses with respect to the time of adjournment,
the Governor shall have power to adjourn the Legislature to such time as he
may think proper, provided it be not beyond the time fixed for the meeting of
the next Legislature.
11. The Governor
shall have power to suspend the collection of fines and forfeitures, and grant
reprieves for a period not exceeding sixty days, for all offenses, except in
cases of impeachment. In cases of conviction for treason he shall have power
to suspend the execution of sentence until the case shall be reported to the
Legislature at its next session, when the Legislature shall either pardon, direct
the execution of the sentence, or grant a further reprieve; and if the Legislature
shall fail or refuse to make disposition of such case, the sentence shall be
enforced at such time and place as the Governor may direct. He shall communicate
to the Legislature, at the beginning of every session, every case of fine or
forfeiture remitted, or reprieve, pardon or commutation granted, stating the
name of the convict, the crime for which he was convicted, the sentence, its
date, and the date of its remission, commutation, pardon or reprieve.
12. The Governor,
Justices of the Supreme Court, and Attorney General, or a major part of them,
of whom the Governor shall be one, may, upon such conditions, and with such
limitations and restrictions as they may deem proper, remit fines and forfeitures,
commute punishment and grant pardons after conviction, in all cases except treason
and impeachment, subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by law relative
to the manner of applying for pardons.
13. The Governor
may, at any time, require the opinion of the Justices of the Supreme Court as
to the interpretation of any portion of this Constitution upon any question
affecting his Executive powers and duties, and the Justices shall render such
opinion in writing.
14. All grants
and commissions shall be in the name and under the authority of the State of
Florida, sealed with the great seal of the State, signed by the Governor, and
countersigned by the Secretary of State.
15. All officers
that shall have been appointed or elected, and that are not liable to impeachment,
may be suspended from office by the Governor for malfeasance, or misfeasance,
or neglect of duty in office, for the commission of any felony, or for drunkenness
or incompetency, and the cause of suspension shall be communicated to the officer
suspended and to the Senate at its next session. And the Governor, by and with
the consent of the Senate, may remove any officer, not liable to impeachment,
for any cause above named. Every suspension shall continue until the adjournment
of the next session of the Senate, unless the officer suspended shall, upon
the recommendation of the Governor, be removed; but the Governor may reinstate
the officer so suspended upon satisfactory evidence that the charge or charges
against him are untrue. If the Senate shall refuse to remove, or fail to take
before its adjournment, the officer suspended shall resume the duties of the
office. The Governor shall have power to fill by appointment any office, the
incumbent of which has been suspended. No officer suspended who shall under
this section resume the duties of his office, shall suffer any loss of salary
or other compensation in consequence of such suspension. The suspension or removal
herein authorized shall not relieve the officer from indictment for any misdemeanor
16. The Governor
shall appoint all commissioned officers of the State Militia, including an Adjutant
General for the State. The Adjutant General shall be the chief officer of the
Governor's staff, with the rank of Major General. His duties and compensation
shall be prescribed by law; Provided, That this Constitution shall
work no vacancy in the office of Adjutant General, as now constituted, until
the expiration of the present term.
17. The Governor
and the administrative officers of the Executive Department shall constitute
a Board of Commissioners of State Institutions, which Board shall have supervision
of all matters connected with such institutions in such manner as shall be prescribed
18. The Governor shall have power to disapprove of any item or items of
any bills making appropriations of money embracing distinct items, and the part
or parts of the bill approved shall be the law, and the item or items of appropriation
disapproved shall be void, unless repassed according to the rules and limitations
prescribed for the passage of other bills over the Executive veto.
19. In case of
the impeachment of the Governor, his removal from office, death, resignation
or inability to discharge his official duties, the powers and duties of Governor
shall devolve upon the President of the Senate for the residue of the term,
or until the disability shall cease; and in case of
the impeachment, removal from office, death, resignation or inability of the
President of the Senate, the power and duties of the office shall devolve upon
the Speaker of the House of Representatives. But should there be a general election
foe members of the Legislature during such vacancy, an election for Governor
to fill the same shall be had at the same time.
20. The Governor
shall be assisted by administrative officers as follows: A Secretary of State,
Attorney General, Comptroller, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction,
and Commissioner of Agriculture, who shall be elected at the same time as the
Governor, and shall hold their offices for the same term; Provided, That
the first election of such officers shall be had at the time of voting for Governor
A. D. 1888.
21. The Secretary
of State shall keep the records of official acts of the Legislative and Executive
Departments of the Government, and shall, when required, lay the same, and all
matters relative thereto, before either branch of the Legislature; and shall
be the custodian of the Great Seal of the State. He shall also have charge of
the Capitol building and grounds, and perform such other duties as shall be
prescribed by law.
22. The Attorney
General shall be the legal adviser of the Governor, and of each of the officers
of the Executive Department, and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed
by law. He shall be Reporter for the Supreme Court.
23. The Comptroller shall examine, audit, adjust and settle the accounts
of all officers of the State and perform such other duties as may be prescribed
24. The Treasurer shall receive and keep all funds, bonds, and other securities,
in such manner as may be prescribed by law, and shall disburse no funds, nor
issue bonds, or other securities, except upon the order of the Comptroller countersigned
by the Governor,
in such manner as shall be prescribed by law.
25. The Superintendent
of Public Instruction shall have supervision of all matters pertaining to public
instruction; the supervision of State buildings devoted to educational purposes,
and perform such other duties as the Legislature may provide by law.
26. The Commissioner
of Agriculture shall perform such duties in relation to agriculture as may be
prescribed by law; shall have supervision of all matters pertaining to the public
lands under regulations prescribed by law, and shall keep the Bureau of Immigration.
He shall also have supervision of the State Prison, and shall perform such other
duties as may be prescribed by law.
27. Each officer
of this Department shall make a full report of his official acts, of the receipts
and expenditures of his office, and of the requirements of the same, to the
Governor at the beginning of each regular session of the Legislature, or whenever
the Governor shall require it. Such report, shall be laid before the Legislature
by the Governor at the beginning of each regular session thereof. Either House
of the Legislature may at any time call upon any officer of this department
for information required by it.
28. The administrative officers of the Executive Department shall be installed
on the same day as the Governor.
29. The salary of the Governor of the State shall be thirty-five hundred
dollars a year, of the Comptroller two thousand dollars, of the State Treasurer
two thousand dollars, of the Secretary of State fifteen hundred dollars, of
the Attorney General fifteen hundred dollars, of the Commissioner of Agriculture
fifteen hundred dollars, of
the Superintendent of Public Instruction fifteen hundred dollars, a year;
Provided, That no administrative officer of the Executive Department shall
receive any additional compensation beyond his salary for any services rendered
the State in connection with the Internal Improvement fund or other interests
belonging to the State of Florida; Provided, further, That the Legislature
may after eight years from the adoption of this Constitution increase or decrease
any or all of said salaries.
1. The judicial
power of the State shall be vested in a Supreme Court, Circuit Courts, Criminal
Courts, County Courts, County Judges and Justices of the Peace.
2. The Supreme
Court shall consist of three Justices, who shall be elected by the qualified
electors of the State at the time and places of voting for members of the Legislature,
and shall hold their office for the term of six years, except those first elected,
one of whom, to be designated by lot in such manner as they may determine, shall
hold his office for two years, another to be designated in like manner for four
years, and the third for six years, so that one shall be elected every two years
after the first election. The Chief Justice shall be designated by lot by said
Justices, and shall be such during his term of office. The first election
for said Justices shall take place at the first election for members of the
Legislature after the ratification of this Constitution, and their term of office
shall begin on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January after their
3. No person
shall ever be appointed or elected as a Justice of the Supreme Court, or Judge
of a Circuit Court, or Criminal Court, that is not twenty-five years of age
and an attorney at law.
4. The majority
of the Justices of the Supreme Court shall constitute a quorum for the transaction
of all business. The concurrence of two Justices shall be necessary to a decision.
The number of terms of the Supreme Court and the times of holding the same shall
be regulated by law. All terms shall be held at the Capital of the State.
5. The Supreme
Court shall have appellate jurisdiction in all cases at law and in equity originating
in Circuit courts, and of appeals from the Circuit Courts in cases arising before
Judges of the County Courts in matters pertaining to their probate jurisdiction
and in the management of the estates of infants, and in cases of conviction
of felony in the criminal courts, and in all criminal cases originating in the
Circuit Courts. The Court shall have the power to issue writs of mandamus, certiorari,
prohibition, quo warranto, habeas corpus, and also all writs necessary or proper
to the complete exercise of its jurisdiction. Each of the Justices shall have
power to issue writs of habeas corpus to any part of the State upon petition
by or on behalf of any person held in actual custody, and may make such writs
returnable before himself or the Supreme Court, or any Justice thereof, or before
any Circuit Judge.
6. The Legislature shall have power to prescribe regulations for calling
into the Supreme Court a Judge of the Circuit Court, to hear and determine any
matters pending before the Court in the place of any Justice thereof that shall
be disqualified or disabled in such case from interest or other cause.
7. The Supreme Court shall appoint a Clerk who shall have his office at
the Capital and shall be Librarian of the Supreme Court Library.
8. There shall
be seven Circuit Judges, who shall be appointed by the Governor and confirmed
by the Senate, and who shall hold their office for six years. The State shall
be divided into seven Judicial Circuits, and one Judge shall be assigned to
each Circuit. Such Judge shall hold at least two terms of his court in each
county within his Circuit every year, at such times and places as shall be prescribed
by law, and may hold special terms. The Governor may, in his discretion, order
a temporary exchange of Circuits by the respective Judges, or order any Judge
to hold one or more terms or parts of terms in any other Circuit than that to
which he is assigned. The Judge shall reside in the Circuit of which he is Judge.
Successors to the Judges of the Circuit Courts in office at the ratification
of this Constitution shall be appointed and confirmed at the first session of
the Legislature after such ratification.
9. The salary of the Justices of the Supreme Court shall be three thousand
dollars a year. The salary of each Circuit Judge shall be two thousand five
hundred dollars a year.
Section 10. Until otherwise defined by the Legislature the several Judicial Circuits of the State shall be as follows:
The First Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington and Jackson.
The Second Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Gadsden, Liberty, Calhoun, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla and Jefferson.
The Third Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Madison, Taylor, Lafayette, Hamilton, Suwannee and Columbia.
The Fourth Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Nassau, Duval, Baker, Bradford, Clay and St. Johns.
The Fifth Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Putnam, Alachua, Levy, Marion and Sumter.
The Sixth Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk and Monroe.
Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Volusia, Brevard, Orange
11. The Circuit Courts shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in all
cases in equity, also in all cases at law, not cognizable by inferior courts,
and in all cases involving the legality of any tax, assessment, or toll; of
the action of ejectment and of all actions involving the titles or boundaries
of real estate, and of all criminal cases not cognizable by inferior courts;
and original jurisdiction of actions of forcible entry and unlawful detainer,
and of such other matters as the Legislature may provide. They shall have final
appellate jurisdiction in all civil and criminal cases arising in the County
Court, or before the County Judge, of all misdemeanors tried in Criminal Courts,
of judgments or sentences of any Mayor's Court, and of all cases arising before
Justices of the Peace in counties in which
there is no County Court; and supervision and appellate jurisdiction of matters
arising before County Judges pertaining to their probate jurisdiction, or to
the estates and interests of minors, and of such other matters as the Legislature
may provide. The Circuit Courts and Judges shall have power to issue writs of
mandamus, injunction, quo warranto, certiorari, prohibition, habeas corpus and
all writs proper and necessary to the complete exercise of their jurisdiction.
12. The Circuit Courts and Circuit Judges may have such extra territorial
jurisdiction in chancery cases as may be prescribed by law.
13. It shall be the duty of the Judges of the Circuit Courts to report to
the Attorney General at least thirty days before each session of the Legislature
such defects in the laws as may have been brought to their attention, and to
suggest such amendments or additional Legislation as may be deemed necessary.
The Attorney General shall report to the Legislature at each session such legislation
as he may deem advisable.
14. A Circuit
Judge may appoint in each county in his Circuit one or more attorneys at law,
to be Court Commissioners, who shall have power in the absence from the country
of the Circuit Judge, to allow writs of injunction and to issue writs of habeas
corpus, returnable before himself or the Circuit Judge. Their orders in such
matters may be reviewed by the Circuit Judge, and confirmed, qualified or vacated.
They may be removed by the Circuit Judge. The Legislature may confer upon them
further powers, not judicial, and shall fix their compensation.
15. The Governor, by and with the consent of the Senate, shall appoint a
State Attorney in each Judicial Circuit, whose duties shall be prescribed by
law, and who shall hold office for four years. There shall be elected in each
county a Sheriff, and a Clerk of the Circuit Court, who shall also be Clerk
of the County Court, except in counties where there are Criminal Courts, and
of the Board of County Commissioners, and Recorder and ex-officio Auditor
of the County, each of whom shall hold office for four years. Their duties shall
be prescribed by law.
16. There shall
be in each county a County Judge who shall be elected by the qualified electors
of said county at the times and places of voting for other county officers and
shall hold his office for four years. His compensation shall be provided for
17. The County Judge shall have original jurisdiction in all cases at law
in which the demand or value of property involved shall not exceed one hundred
dollars; of proceedings relating to the forcible entry or unlawful detention
of lands and tenements; and of such criminal cases as the Legislature may prescribe.
The County Judge shall have jurisdiction of the settlement of the estates of
decedents and minors, to order the sale of real estate of decedents and minors,
to take probate of wills, to grant letters testamentary and of administration
and guardianship, and to discharge the duties usually pertaining to courts of
probate. He shall have the power of a committing magistrate and shall issue
all licenses required by law to be issued in the county.
18. The Legislature
may organize in such counties, as it may think proper, County Courts which shall
have jurisdiction of all cases at law in which the demand or value of the property
involved shall not exceed five hundred dollars; of proceedings relating to the
forcible entry or unlawful detention of lands and tenements, and of misdemeanors,
and final appellate jurisdiction in civil cases arising in the Courts of Justices
of the Peace. The trial of such appeals may be de novo at the option
of appellant. The County Judge shall be the Judge of said Court. There shall
be elected by the qualified electors of said county at the time when the said
Judge is elected a Prosecuting Attorney for said county, who shall hold office
for four years. His duties and compensation shall be prescribed by law. Such
Courts may be abolished at the pleasure of the Legislature.
19. When any
civil case at law in which the Judge is disqualified shall be called for trial
in a Circuit or County Court, the parties may agree upon an attorney at law,
who shall be Judge ad litem, and shall preside over the trial of and
make orders in said cause as if he were Judge of the Court. The parties may,
however, transfer the cause to another Circuit Court or County Court, as the
case may be, or may have the case submitted to a referee.
20. Any civil
cause may be tried before a practicing attorney as referee upon the application
of the parties and an order from the court in whose jurisdiction the case may
be, authorizing such trial and appointing such referee. The referee shall keep
a complete record of the case, including the evidence taken, and such record
shall be filed with the papers in the case in the office of the Clerk; and the
cause shall be subject to an appeal in the manner prescribed by law.
21. The County
Commissioners of each county shall divide it into as many Justice Districts,
not less than two, as they may deem necessary. There shall be elected one Justice
of the Peace for each of the said districts. He shall hold his office for four
22. In each county where there is no County Court, as provided for in section
eighteen [Section 18] of this Article, the Justices of the Peace shall have
jurisdiction in cases at law in which the demand or value of the property involved
does not exceed one hundred dollars, and in which the cause of action accrued,
or the defendant resides, in his district; and in such criminal cases, except
felonies, as many be prescribed by law; and in counties where County Courts
are established, as provided for in section eighteen [Section 18] of this Article,
every Justice of the Peace shall have jurisdiction in cases at law in which
the demand or value of the property does not exceed fifty dollars, and in which
the cause of action accrued, or the defendant resides, in his district; and
he shall have power to issue process for the arrest of persons charged with
crime, and to make the same returnable before himself or the County Judge, for
examination, discharge, commitment or bail of the accused. Justices of the Peace
shall have power to hold inquests of the dead. Appeals from the Justice of the
Peace Courts to Circuit Courts in criminal cases shall be tried de novo
under such regulations as the Legislature may prescribe.
23. A Constable
shall be elected by the registered voters in each Justice's district, who shall
perform such duties, and under such regulations as may be prescribed by law.
24. There shall
be established in the county of Escambia, and upon application of a majority
of the registered voters in such other counties as the Legislature may deem
expedient, a Criminal Court of Record, and there shall be one Judge for each
of the said courts, who shall be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by
the Senate, who shall hold his office for four years, and whose salary shall
be one thousand dollars a year, the counties paying the salaries.
25. The said
courts shall have jurisdiction of all criminal cases not capital which shall
arise in said counties respectively.
26. There shall
be six terms of said courts in each year.
27. There shall
be for each of said courts a prosecuting Attorney, who shall be appointed by
the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, and who shall hold his office for
four years. His compensation shall be fixed by law.
28. All offenses
triable in said Court shall be prosecuted upon information under oath, to be
filed by the prosecuting attorney, but the grand jury of the Circuit Court for
the county in which said Criminal Court is held may indict for offenses triable
in the Criminal Court. Upon the finding of such indictment the Circuit Judge
shall commit or bail the accused for trial in the Criminal Court, which trial
shall be upon information.
29. The County
Courts in counties where such Criminal Courts are established shall have no
criminal jurisdiction and no prosecuting Attorney.
30. The Clerk
of said Court shall be elected by the electors of the county in which the Court
is held and shall hold office for four years, and his compensation shall be
fixed by law. He shall also be Clerk of the County Court. The Sheriff of the
County shall be the executive officer of said Court, and his duties and fees
shall be fixed by law.
31. The State Attorney residing in the county where such Court is held shall
be eligible for appointment as County Solicitor for said county.
32. Such courts
may be abolished by the Legislature.
33. When the
office of any Judge shall become vacant from any cause, the successor to fill
such vacancy shall be appointed or elected only for the unexpired term of the
Judge whose death, resignation, retirement, or other cause created such vacancy.
34. The Legislature
may establish in incorporated towns and cities, courts for the punishment of
offenses against municipal ordinances.
35. No courts
other than those herein specified shall be established in this State.
36. All judicial
officers in this State shall be conservators of the peace.
37. The style
of all process shall be "The State of Florida," and all prosecutions shall be
conducted in the name and by the authority of the State.
38. The number
of jurors for the trial of causes in any court may be fixed by law but shall
not be less than six in any case.
1. Every male
person of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, that shall, at the time of
registration, be a citizen of the United States, or that shall have declared
his intention to become such in conformity to the laws of the United States,
and that shall have resided and had his habitation, domicile, home and place
of permanent abode in Florida for one year, and in the county for six months,
shall in such county be deemed a qualified elector at all elections under this
2. The Legislature,
at its first session after the ratification of this Constitution, shall provide
by law for the registration of all the legally qualified voters in each county,
and for the returns of elections; and shall also provide that after the completion,
from time to time, of such registration, no person not duly registered according
to law shall be allowed to vote.
3. Every elector shall at the time of his registration take and subscribe
to the following oath: "I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will protect and
defend the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Florida, that
I am twenty-one years of age, and have been a resident of the State of Florida
for twelve months and of this county for six months, and I am qualified to vote
under the Constitution and laws of the State of Florida."
No person under guardianship, non compos mentis or insane shall be
qualified to vote at any election, nor shall any person convicted of felony
by a court of record be qualified to vote at any election unless restored to
5. The Legislature
shall have power to, and shall, enact the necessary laws to exclude from every
office of honor, power, trust or profit, civil or military, within the State,
and from the right of suffrage, all persons convicted of bribery, perjury, larceny,
or of infamous crime, or who shall make, or become directly or indirectly interested
in, any bet or wager, the result of which shall depend upon any election; or
that shall hereafter fight a duel or send or accept a challenge to fight, or
that shall be a second to either party, or that shall be the bearer of such
challenge or acceptance; but the legal disability shall not accrue until after
trial and conviction by due form of law.
6. In all elections
by the Legislature the vote shall be viva voce, and in all elections
by the people the vote shall be by ballot.
7. At any election
at which a citizen or subject of any foreign country shall offer to vote under
the provisions of this Constitution, if required by any elector, he shall produce
to the persons lawfully authorized to conduct and supervise such election a
duly sealed and certified copy of his declaration of intention, and if unable
to do so by reason that such copy cannot be obtained at the time of said election,
he shall be allowed to make affidavit before a proper officer, setting forth
the reason why he is unable to furnish such certificate, and if said affidavit
prove satisfactory to the inspectors they shall allow said elector to cast his
vote; and any naturalized citizen offering to vote shall, if so required by
any elector, produce his certificate of naturalization or a duly certified copy
thereof, and in the event that said elector cannot produce the same, he shall
be allowed to make affidavit before a proper officer stating in full the reason
why it cannot be furnished, and if satisfactory to the inspectors of said election
such elector shall be allowed to vote.
8. The Legislature shall have power to make the payment of the capitation
tax a prerequisite for voting, and all such taxes received shall go into the
9. The Legislature
shall enact such laws as will preserve the purity of the ballot given under
1. The Senators
representing the odd numbered districts, as said districts are now designated,
whose terms have not expired, and those Senators representing even numbered
districts, to be elected A. D. 1886, under the Constitution of 1868, shall be
the first Senate under this Constitution; and the members of the Assembly to
be elected A. D. 1886 shall be the first House of Representatives under this
Constitution, and the Senate and House of Representatives thus constituted shall
be the first Legislature under this Constitution, and the terms of office of
each of the said Senators and members of the House of Representatives shall
expire at the election for Senators and members of the House of Representatives
A. D. 1888, and in that year a new Senate and House of Representatives shall
2. The Legislatures
that convene in the year 1889 and thereafter, shall consist of not more than
thirty-two members of the Senate, and of not more than sixty-eight members of
the House of Representatives. The members of the House of Representatives shall
be elected for terms of two years, and the members of the Senate shall be elected
for terms of four years, except as hereafter provided, the elections for members
of the Senate and House of Representatives to be held at the same time and places.
The terms of Senators elected in 1888 from districts designated by even numbers,
shall expire at the end of two years from that date, and thereafter all Senators
shall be elected for four years, so that one-half of the whole number shall
be elected biennially.
3. The Legislature
that shall meet A. D. 1887, and those that shall meet every ten years thereafter,
shall apportion the representation in the Senate, the whole number of Senators
not to exceed thirty-two members; and at the same time shall also apportion
the representation in the House of Representatives, the whole number of Representatives
not to exceed sixty-eight members. The representation in the House of Representatives
shall be apportioned among the several counties as nearly as possible according
to population; Provided, Each county shall have one representative
at large in the House of Representatives, and no county shall have more than
4. When any Senatorial
District is composed of two or more counties, the counties of which such district
consists shall not be entirely separated by any county belonging to another
district. Any new county that may be created shall be entitled to one member
in the House of Representatives until the next apportionment thereafter; and
shall be assigned when created to one of the adjoining Senatorial Districts
as shall be determined by the Legislature.
5. The Legislature
shall provide for an enumeration of all the inhabitants of the State by counties
for the year 1895, and every ten years thereafter.
1. The State
shall be divided into political divisions to be called counties.
2. The several
counties as they now exist are hereby recognized as the legal political divisions
of the State.
3. The Legislature
shall have power to establish new counties, and to change county lines. Every
newly established county shall be held liable for its proportion of the then
existing liabilities of the county or counties from which it shall be formed,
rated upon the basis of the assessed value of the property, both real and personal,
subject to taxation within the territory taken from any county or counties;
and every county acquiring additional territory from another county shall be
held liable for its proportion of the liabilities of such other county existing
at the time of such acquisition, to be rated upon the basis of the assessed
value of all property subject to taxation within such acquired territory.
4. The Legislature shall have no power to remove the County Seat of any
county, but shall provide by general law for such removal; Provided,
That in the formation of new counties the County Seat may be temporarily established
5. There shall
be appointed by the Governor, by and with the consent of the Senate, in and
for each county, five County Commissioners. Their terms of office shall be two
years, and their powers, duties and compensation shall be prescribed by law.
The Legislature shall provide for the division of each county into five districts,
and one County Commissioner shall be selected from each of such districts.
6. The Legislature
shall provide for the election by the qualified electors in each county of the
following county officers: A Clerk of the Circuit Court, a Sheriff, Constables,
a County Assessor of Taxes, a Tax Collector, a County Treasurer, a Superintendent
of Public Instruction, and a County Surveyor. The term of office of all county
officers mentioned in this section shall be four years, except that of County
Assessor of Taxes, County Tax collector and County Treasurer, who shall be elected
for two years. Their powers, duties and compensation shall be prescribed by
7. The Legislature
shall by law authorize the County Commissioners of the several counties, where
it is deemed necessary for assessment purposes, to divide their respective counties
into taxation districts, and to appoint in and for each district an Assistant
Assessor of Taxes, whose powers, duties and compensation shall be prescribed
by law. All county officers, except Assistant Assessors of Taxes, shall, before
entering upon the duties of their respective offices, be commissioned by the
Governor; but no such commission shall issue to any such officer until he shall
have filed with the Secretary of State a good and sufficient bond in such sum
and upon such conditions as the Legislature shall by law prescribe, approved
by the County Commissioners of the county in which such officer resides, and
by the Comptroller. No county officer shall become security upon the official
bond of any other county officer. If any person elected or appointed to any
county office shall fail to give bond and qualify within sixty days after his
election, the said office shall become vacant.
8. The Legislature
shall have power to establish and to abolish municipalities, to provide for
their government, to prescribe their jurisdiction and powers, and to alter or
amend the same at any time. When any municipality shall be abolished, provision
shall be made for the protection of its creditors.
1. The Legislature
shall provide for a uniform and equal rate of taxation, and shall prescribe
such regulations as shall secure a just valuation of all property, both real
and personal, excepting such property as may be exempted by law for municipal,
educational, literary, scientific, religious or charitable purposes.
2. The Legislature
shall provide for raising revenue sufficient to defray the expenses of the State
for each fiscal year, and also a sufficient sum to pay the principal and interest
of the existing indebtedness of the State.
3. No tax shall
be levied except in pursuance of law.
4. No money shall
be drawn from the treasury except in pursuance of appropriations made by law.
5. The Legislature
shall authorize the several counties and incorporated cities or towns in the
State to assess and impose taxes for county and municipal purposes, and for
no other purposes, and all property shall be taxed upon the principles established
for State taxation. But the cities and incorporated towns shall make their own
assessments for municipal purposes upon the property within their limits. The
Legislature may also provide for levying a special capitation tax, and a tax
on licenses. But the capitation tax shall not exceed one dollar a year and shall
be applied exclusively to common school purposes.
6. The legislature
shall have power to provide for issuing State bonds only for the purpose of
repelling invasion or suppressing insurrection, or for the purpose of redeeming
or refunding bonds already issued, at a lower rate of interest.
7. No tax shall
be levied for the benefit of any chartered company of the State, nor for paying
interest on any bonds issued by such chartered companies, or by counties, or
by corporations, for the above-mentioned purpose.
8. No person
or corporation shall be relieved by any court from the payment of any tax that
may be illegal, or illegally or irregularly assessed, until he or it shall have
paid such portion of his or its taxes as may be legal, and legally and regularly
9. There shall be exempt from taxation property to the value of two hundred
dollars to every widow that has a family dependent on her for support, and to
every person that has lost a limb or been disabled in war or by misfortune.
10. The credit
of the State shall not be pledged or loaned to any individual, company, corporation
or association; nor shall the State become a joint owner or stockholder in any
company, association or corporation. The Legislature shall not authorize any
county, city, borough, township or incorporated district to become a stockholder
in any company, association or corporation, or to obtain or appropriate money
for, or to loan its credit to, any corporation, association, institution or
1. A homestead
to the extent of one hundred and sixty acres of land, or the half of one acre
within the limits of any incorporated city or town, owned by the head of a family
residing in this State, together with one thousand dollars worth of personal
property, and the improvements on the real estate, shall be exempt from forced
sale under process of any court, and the real estate shall not be alienable
without the joint consent of husband and wife, when that relation exists. But
no property shall be exempt from sale for taxes or assessments, or for the payment
of obligations contracted for the purchase of said property, or for the erection
or repair of improvements on the real estate exempted, or for house, field or
other labor performed on the same. The exemption herein provided for in a city
or town shall not extend to more improvements or buildings than the residence
and business house of the owner; and no judgment or decree or execution shall
be a lien upon exempted property except as provided in this Article.
2. The exemptions
provided for in Section 1 shall inure to the widow and heirs of the party entitled
to such exemption, and shall apply to all debts, except as specified in said
3. The exemptions
provided for in the Constitution of this State adopted in 1868 shall apply as
to all debts contracted and judgments rendered since the adoption thereof and
prior to the adoption of this Constitution.
4. Nothing in
this Article shall be construed to prevent the holder of a homestead from alienating
his or her homestead so exempted by deed or mortgage duly executed by himself
or herself, and by husband and wife, if such relation exists; nor if the holder
be without children to prevent him or her from disposing of his or her homestead
by will in a manner prescribed by law.
5. No homestead
provided for in Section 1 shall be reduced in area on account of its being subsequently
included within the limits of an incorporated city or town, without the consent
of the owner.
6. The Legislature
shall enact such laws as may be necessary to enforce the provisions of this
1. All property,
real and personal, of a wife owned by her before marriage, or lawfully acquired
afterward by gift, devise, bequest, descent, or purchase, shall be her separate
property, and the same shall not be liable for the debts of her husband without
her consent given by some instrument in writing executed according to the law
respecting conveyances by married women.
2. A married
woman's separate real or personal property may be charged in equity and sold,
or the uses, rents and profits thereof sequestrated for the purchase money thereof;
or for money or thing due upon any agreement made by her in writing for the
benefit of her separate property; or for the price of any property purchased
by her, or for labor and material used with her knowledge or assent in the construction
of buildings, or repairs, or improvements upon her property, or for agricultural
or other labor bestowed thereon, with her knowledge and consent.
3. The Legislature
shall enact such laws as shall be necessary to carry into effect this Article.
1. The Legislature shall provide for a uniform system of public free schools,
and shall provide for the liberal maintenance of the same.
2. There shall
be a Superintendent of Public Instruction, whose duties shall be prescribed
by law, and whose term of office shall be four years and until the election
and qualification of his successor.
3. The Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer and
State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall constitute a body corporate,
to be known as the State Board of Education of Florida, of which the Governor
shall be President, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction Secretary.
This Board shall have power to remove any subordinate school officer for cause,
upon notice to the incumbent; and shall have the management and investment of
all State School Funds under such regulations as may be prescribed by law, and
such supervision of schools of higher grades as the law shall provide.
Section 4. The State School Fund, the interest of which shall be exclusively applied to the support and maintenance of public free schools, shall be derived from the following sources:
The proceeds of all lands that have been or may hereafter be granted to the State by the United States for public school purposes.
Donations to the State when the purpose is not specified.
Appropriations by the State.
The proceeds of escheated property or forfeitures.
per cent. of the sales of public lands which are now or may hereafter be owned
by the State.
5. The principal of the State School Fund shall remain sacred and inviolate.
6. A special
tax of one mill on the dollar of all taxable property in the State, in addition
to the other means provided, shall be levied and apportioned annually for the
support and maintenance of public free schools.
shall be made by law for the distribution of the interest on the State School
Fund and the special tax among the several counties of the State in proportion
to the number of children residing therein between the ages of six and twenty-one
8. Each county
shall be required to assess and collect annually for the support of public free
schools therein, a tax of not less than three mills nor more than five mills
on the dollar of all taxable property in the same.
9. The County
School Fund shall consist, in addition to the tax provided for in Section 8
of this Article, of the proportion of the interest of the State School Fund
and of the one mill State tax apportioned to the county; the net proceeds of
all fines collected under the penal laws of the State within the county; all
capitation taxes collected within the county; and shall be disbursed by the
County Board of Public Instruction solely for the maintenance and support of
public free schools.
10. The Legislature may provide for the division of any county or counties
into convenient school districts; and for the election biennially of three school
trustees, who shall hold their office for two years, and who shall have the
supervision of all the schools within the district; and for the levying and
collection of a district school tax, for the exclusive use of public free schools
within the district, whenever a majority of the qualified electors thereof that
pay a tax on real, or personal property shall vote in favor of such levy; Provided,
That any tax authorized by this section shall not exceed three mills on
the dollar in any one year on the taxable property of the district.
11. Any incorporated
town or city may constitute a School District. The fund raised by Section 10
may be expended in the district where levied for building or repairing school
houses, for the purchase of school libraries and textbooks, for salaries of
teachers, or for other educational purposes, so that the distribution among
all the schools of the district be equitable.
12. White and
colored children shall not be taught in the same school, but impartial provision
shall be made for both.
13. No law shall
be enacted authorizing the diversion or the lending of any County or District
School Funds, or the appropriation of any part of the permanent or available
school fund to any other than school purposes; nor shall the same, or any part
thereof, be appropriated to or used for the support of any sectarian school.
14. The Legislature
at its first session shall provide for the establishment, maintenance and management
of such Normal Schools, not to exceed two, as the interests of public education
15. The compensation
of all county school officers shall be paid from the school fund of their respective
counties, and all other county officers receiving stated salaries shall be paid
from the general funds of their respective counties.
for the benefit of the insane, blind and deaf, and such other benevolent institutions
as the public good may require, shall be fostered and supported by the State,
subject to such regulations as may be prescribed by law.
2. A State Prison shall be established and maintained in such manner as
may be prescribed by law. Provision may be made by law for the establishment
and maintenance of a house of refuge for juvenile offenders; and the Legislature
shall have power to establish a home and work-house for common vagrants.
3. The respective
counties of the State shall provide in the manner prescribed by law for those
of the inhabitants that, by reason of age, infirmity or misfortune, may have
claims upon the aid and sympathy of society.
4. The first
Legislature that convenes after the adoption of this Constitution shall enact
the necessary laws to carry into effect the provisions of this Article.
1. All able-bodied male inhabitants of the State, between the ages of eighteen
and forty-five years, that are citizens of the United States, or have declared
their intention to become citizens thereof, shall constitute the militia of
the State; but no male citizen of whatever religious creed or opinion shall
be exempt from military duty except upon such conditions as may be prescribed
2. The Legislature
may provide by law for organizing and disciplining the Militia of the State,
for the encouragement of volunteer corps, the safe keeping of the public arms,
and for a guard for the State Prison.
3. The Governor, by and with the consent of the Senate, shall appoint two
Major Generals and four Brigadier Generals of Militia. They shall take rank
according to the dates of their commissions. The officers and soldiers of the
State Militia, when uniformed, shall wear the uniform prescribed for the United
States Army; Provided, That volunteer companies may select their own
4. The Governor shall have power to call out the Militia to preserve the
public peace, to execute the laws of the State, to suppress insurrection, or
to repel invasion.
1. The Legislature
shall establish a State Board of Health and also County Boards of Health in
all counties where it may be necessary.
2. The State
Board of Health shall have supervision of all matters relating to public health,
with such duties, powers and responsibilities as may be prescribed by law.
3. The County
Boards of Health shall have such powers and be under the supervision of the
State Board to such extent as the Legislature may prescribe.
1. The Seat of Government shall be at the City of Tallahassee, in the county
2. Each and every
officer of this State, including the members of the Legislature, shall before
entering upon the discharge of his official duties take the following oath of
office: I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will support, protect, and defend
the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida;
that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the State,
and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of _____________ on which
I am now about to enter. So help me God.
3. The salary
of each officer shall be payable quarterly upon his own requisition.
4. All county officers shall hold their respective offices, and keep their
official books and records, at the county seats of their counties; and the Clerk
and Sheriff shall either reside or have a sworn deputy within two miles of the
5. The Legislature may provide for the donation of the public lands to actual
settlers, but such donation shall not exceed eighty acres to any one person.
6. The Legislature
shall provide for the speedy publication and distribution of all laws it may
enact. All decisions of the Supreme Court and all laws and judicial decisions
shall be free for publication by any person. But no judgment of the Supreme
Court shall take effect until the opinion of the Court in such case shall be
filed with the Clerk of said Court.
7. The Legislature
shall not create any office, the term of which shall be longer than four years.
8. A plurality
of votes given at an election of officers shall constitute a choice when not
otherwise provided by this Constitution.
9. In all criminal cases prosecuted in the name of the State, where the
defendant is insolvent or discharged, the State shall pay the legal costs and
expenses, including the fees of officers, under such regulations as shall be
prescribed by law.
10. The Governor,
Supreme Court and all the administrative officers of the Executive Department
shall keep their offices at the Seat of Government. But in case of invasion
or violent epidemics the Governor may direct that the offices of the Government
be removed temporarily to some other place. The sessions of the Legislature
may be adjourned for the same cause to some other place, but in case of such
removal all the Departments of the Government shall be removed to one place.
But such removal shall not continue longer than the necessity for the same shall
11. No extra
compensation shall be made to any officer, agent, employee, or contractor after
the service shall have been rendered, or the contract made; nor shall any money
be appropriated or paid on any claim, the subject matter of which shall not
have been provided for by pre-existing laws, unless such compensation or claim
be allowed by bill passed by two-thirds of the members elected to each house
of the Legislature.
12. The present
Seal of the State shall be and remain the Seal of the State of Florida; and
the present State Emblem shall be and remain the Emblem of the State of Florida.
13. The sureties upon the official bonds of all the State officers shall
be residents of, and have sufficient visible property unencumbered within the
State, not exempt from sale under legal process, to make good their bonds; and
the sureties upon the official bonds of all county officers shall reside within
the counties where such county officers reside, and have sufficient visible
property therein unencumbered and not exempt from sale under legal process to
make good their bonds.
14. All State,
County and Municipal officers shall continue in office after the expiration
of their official terms until their successors are duly qualified.
15. No person
holding or exercising the functions of any office under any foreign Government,
under the Government of the United States, or under any other State, shall hold
any office of honor or profit under the government of this State; and no person
shall hold, or perform the functions of, more than one office under the government
of this State at the same time; Provided, Notaries Public, militia
officers, county school officers and Commissioners of Deeds may be elected or
appointed to fill any legislative, executive or judicial office.
16. The property
of all corporations, except the property of a corporation which shall construct
a ship or barge canal across the peninsula of Florida, if the Legislature should
so enact, whether heretofore or hereafter incorporated, shall be subject to
taxation unless such property be held and used exclusively for religious, scientific,
municipal, educational, literary or charitable purposes.
17. No person
shall hold any office of trust or profit under the laws of this State without
devoting his personal attention to the duties of the same.
18. The Legislature shall provide for deductions from the salaries of public
officers who neglect the performance of any duty assigned them by law.
19. No Convention
nor Legislature of this State shall act upon any amendment of the Constitution
of the United States proposed by Congress to the several States, unless such
Convention or Legislature shall have been elected after such amendment is submitted.
20. The Governor
and every State officer are hereby prohibited from giving certificates of election
or other credentials to any person as having been elected to the House of Representatives
of the United States Congress, or the United States Senate, who has not been
five years a citizen of the State and ten years a citizen of the United States,
and a qualified voter.
21. Deeds and mortgages which have been proved for record and recorded according
to law, shall be taken as prima facie evidence in the courts of this
State without requiring proof of the execution. A certified copy of the record
of any deed or mortgage that has been or shall be duly recorded according to
law shall be admitted as prima facie evidence thereof, and of its due
execution with like effect as the original duly proved; Provided, It
be made to appear that the original is not within the custody or control of
the party offering such copy.
22. The Legislature
shall provide for giving to mechanics and laborers an adequate lien on the subject
matter of their labor.
23. No soldier
shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the
owner, nor in time of war except in the manner prescribed by law.
24. All marriages
between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of
negro descent to the fourth generation, inclusive, are hereby forever prohibited.
25. The term
felony, whenever it may occur in this Constitution or in the laws of the State,
shall be construed to mean any criminal offense punishable with death or imprisonment
in the State Penitentiary.
26. The Legislature
may make provision for the proper adjustment and settlement of the claim of
the citizens of Ocala against the State for certain aid given by the town of
Ocala for the establishment of the East Florida Seminary in 1852, and conditional
upon its location at the said town.
27. The Legislature
shall appropriate at least five hundred dollars each year for the purchase of
such books for the Supreme Court Library as the Court may direct.
28. The Legislature
may provide for the drainage of the land of one person over or through that
of another, upon just compensation therefor to the owner of the land over which
such drainage is had.
29. No private
property nor right of way shall be appropriated to the use of any corporation
or individual until full compensation therefor shall be first made to the owner,
or first secured to him by deposit of money; which compensation, irrespective
of any benefit from any improvement proposed by such corporation or individual,
shall be ascertained by a jury of twelve men in a court of competent jurisdiction,
as shall be prescribed by law.
30. The Legislature
is invested with full power to pass laws for the correction of abuses and to
prevent unjust discrimination and excessive charges by persons and corporations
engaged as common carriers in transporting persons and property, or performing
other services of a public nature; and shall provide for enforcing such laws
by adequate penalties or forfeitures.
31. No railroad
or other transportation company or common carrier in this State shall grant
a free pass, or discount the fare paid by the public generally, to any member
of the Legislature, or to any salaried officer of this State, and the Legislature
shall prohibit the granting or receiving such free pass, or fare at a discount,
by suitable penalties.
1. Either branch
of the Legislature, at a regular session thereof, may propose amendments to
this Constitution; and if the same be agreed to by three-fifths of all the members
elected to each House, such proposed amendments shall be entered upon their
respective Journals with the yeas and nays, and published in one newspaper in
each county where a newspaper is published, for three months immediately preceding
the next general election of Representatives, at which election the same shall
be submitted to the electors of the State, for approval or rejection. If a majority
of the electors voting upon the amendments at such election shall adopt the
amendments, the same shall become a part of the Constitution. The proposed amendments
shall be so submitted as to enable the electors to vote on each amendment separately.
2. If at any
time the Legislature, by a vote of two-thirds of all the members of both Houses,
shall determine that a revision of this Constitution is necessary, such determination
shall be entered upon their respective Journals, with the yeas and nays thereon.
Notice of said action shall be published weekly in one newspaper in every county
in which a newspaper is published, for three months preceding the next general
election of Representatives, and in those counties where no newspaper is published,
notice shall be given by posting at the several polling precincts in such counties
for six weeks next preceding said election. The electors at said election may
vote for or against the revision in question. If a majority of the electors
so voting be in favor of revision, the Legislature chosen at such election shall
provide by law for a Convention to revise the Constitution, said Convention
to be held within six months after the passage of such law. The Convention shall
consist of a number equal to the membership of the House of Representatives,
and shall be apportioned among the several counties in the same manner as members
of said House.
1. The Constitution
adopted A. D. 1868, with amendments thereto, is declared to be superseded by
this Constitution: But all rights, actions, claims and contracts, both as respects
individuals and bodies corporate, shall continue to be as valid as if this Constitution
had not been adopted. And all fines, taxes, penalties and forfeitures due and
owing to the State of Florida under the Constitution of 1868, shall inure to
the use of the State under this Constitution.
2. All laws now
in force not inconsistent with this Constitution shall continue in force until
they shall expire by their own limitation, or be repealed by the Legislature.
3. All persons
holding any office or appointment at the ratification of this Constitution shall
continue in the exercise of the duties thereof, according to their respective
commissions or appointments, and until their successors are duly qualified,
unless by this Constitution otherwise provided.
4. Nothing contained
in this Constitution shall operate to vacate the office of Lieutenant Governor
until the expiration of his present term.
5. All vacancies
occurring by limitation of terms before the general election in 1888 shall be
filled as provided for by law under the Constitution of 1868.
6. The term of office for all appointees to fill vacancies in any of the
elective offices under this Constitution, shall extend only to the election
and qualification of a successor at the ensuing general election.
7. In all cases
of elections to fill vacancies in office such election shall be for the unexpired
8. Upon the ratification
of this Constitution the Commissioner of Lands and Immigration shall assume
the office of Commissioner of Agriculture, and his duties as such shall be prescribed
by the first Legislature assembled under this Constitution.
9. A general
election shall be held in each county in this State on the first Tuesday after
the first Monday in November, A. D. 1888, and every two years thereafter, for
all elective State and county officers whose terms of office are about to expire,
or for any office that shall have become vacant.
10. The first
election for County Judge, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Sheriff, Tax Assessor,
Tax Collector, County Treasurer, County Superintendent of Public Instruction,
County Surveyor, Justices of the Peace, Constables and all other elective County
Officers shall be at the general election in 1888.
11. It shall
be the duty of the President of this Convention immediately on its adjournment
to certify to the Governor a copy of this Constitution.
12. Upon receipt
of such certified copy the Governor shall forthwith announce the fact by proclamation,
to be published in such newspapers in this State as may be deemed requisite
for general information, and five printed copies of such Constitution shall
be transmitted by the Secretary of State to the Clerk of the Circuit Court,
and five to the County Judge of each county, which shall be kept on file in
their respective offices for examination by any person desiring the same.
13. All Courts
as now organized and constituted shall continue with their jurisdiction until
the Legislature shall conform to the requirements of this Constitution the jurisdiction
of such Courts as, under this Constitution, are to exercise in whole or in part
the jurisdiction of Courts now organized.
14. The terms
of office of all County Officers, unless otherwise provided, shall commence
on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January next after their election.
1. The Board
of County Commissioners of each county in the State, not oftener than once in
every two years, upon the application of one-fourth of the registered voters
of any county, shall call and provide for an election in the county in which
application is made, to decide whether the sale of intoxicating liquors, wines
or beer shall be prohibited therein, the question to be determined by a majority
vote of those voting at the election called under this section, which election
shall be conducted in the manner prescribed by law for holding general elections;
Provided, That intoxicating liquors, either spirituous, vinous, or
malt, shall not be sold in any election district in which a majority vote was
cast against the same at the said election. Elections under this section shall
be held within sixty days from the time of presenting said application, but
if any such election should thereby take place within sixty days of any State
or National election, it shall be held within sixty days after any such State
or National election.
2. The Legislature
shall provide necessary laws to carry out and enforce the provisions of Section
1 of this Article.
1. This Constitution
shall be submitted to the people of the State of Florida for ratification on
the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, A. D. 1886, and it shall
require a majority of the votes cast upon the question to determine its ratification
At such election each qualified elector shall express his assent or dissent,
by having written or printed upon the ticket which he shall vote the words,
"For the Constitution," or "Against the Constitution;" such election being subject
to the same regulations and restrictions as are now prescribed by law. And in
case of its ratification by the people, the Governor shall forthwith cause proclamation
to be made of the fact, and it shall go into effect on the first day of January,
A. D. 1887.
1. Article XIX
shall be submitted to the people, when the Constitution is submitted for ratification,
to become a part of the Constitution, if adopted by a majority of the votes
cast upon the question, and the ballots of those voting on this Article shall
have written or printed on them the words, "For Article XIX," or "Against Article
Ordained by the People of Florida, Represented in Constitutional Convention:
1. The pay of
the members of this Constitutional Convention shall be a per diem for attendance
of six ($6.00) dollars a day in addition to mileage of ten cents a mile, each
way, from their places of residence to the Capital and return, estimated by
the shortest thoroughfare.
2. The pay of
the Secretary and Assistant Secretary of the Convention and all the Clerks elected
by the Convention shall be six ($6.00) dollars per diem each, allowing the Secretary
and Assistant Secretary one day after adjournment to complete unfinished business;
all Committee Clerks shall receive five ($5.00) dollars per diem for the number
of days certified by the Chairman of the Committee; the pay of the Sergeant-at-Arms
shall be six ($6.00) dollars per diem, and the Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms shall
be five ($5.00) dollars per diem; the pay of the Messengers of the Convention
shall be four ($4.00) dollars per diem each; the pay of the Door-Keeper shall
be five ($5.00) dollars per diem; the pay of Pages shall be three ($3.00) dollars
per diem each; the pay of the Janitor shall be two ($2.00) dollars per diem;
the pay of the Chaplain shall be one hundred dollars. The Recording Clerk shall
complete his work after the adjournment of the Convention, under the supervision
of the Secretary of State, and shall be paid for the same fifty dollars when
his work is completed. Eighteen dollars shall be paid W. R. Carter for services
as Assistant Secretary for three days. Messrs. Dorr & Bowen shall be paid
for printing the amount approved by the Committee on Printing, certified by
the President and Secretary of the Convention.
3. The Comptroller
is required to draw his warrant on the Treasurer in favor of the officers and
employees of this Convention for the full amount allowed them by Section 2,
and to each delegate of this Convention for his pro rata share of the amount
appropriated by the Legislature, after deducting from said amount the amount
due said employees and all other expenses, including mileage of members,incurred
by this Convention.
4. The President
is authorized on behalf of this Convention to issue certificates signed by himself
and countersigned by the Secretary, to each of the members, payable to himself
or his order, bearing interest at the rate of eight per cent. per annum from
date, for the amount remaining due on account of the deficiency of the Legislative
appropriation for expenses of this Convention.
5. The Legislature
shall make an appropriation at its next session to pay said certificates.
6. Be it further ordained, That the Secretary of this Convention
be and he is hereby authorized to audit the accounts of the members of all other
Done in open
Convention, at Tallahassee, this 3d day of August, A. D. Eighteen hundred and
eighty-five, and of the independence of the United States the one hundredth*
and tenth year.
J. E. Yonge, First Vice-President.
Wm. H. Reynolds,
W. M. Bennett,
A. D. McKinnon, James R. Challen, J. P. B. Goodbread, Norman T. Scott, B. D.
Wadsworth, Wm. A. Blount, Joseph H. Humphries, A. E. Maxwell, Theodore Randell,
E. M. Randall, B. F. Oliveros, A. L. McCaskill, F. B. Genovar, W. H. Milton,
T. F. Swearingen, W. L. Hunter, S. B. Conover, Obadiah Edge, M. M. Blackburn,
J. G. Speer, Wm. N. Sheats, R. F. Taylor, Jas. P. Coker, John Westcott, C. C.
Wilson, L. W. Bethel, John Neel, King Wylly, W. H. Hausman, William B. Randolph,
Phillip Walter, Jeremiah Fogarty, Jas. B. Stone, E. C. Love, Alexander Bell,
John Crews Pelot, Syd. L. Carter, John C. Richard, John W. Malone, Joseph M.
Tolbert, S. J. Turnbull, Lewis Wilson, Wallace S. Jones, Wash M. Ives, R. C.
Parkhill, James F. McClellan, Thos. V. Gibbs, J. E. Yonge, E. C. F. Sanchez,
George I. Davis, E. L. Odom, W. T. Orman, H. C. Baker, Wm. F. Thompson, J. P.
Morgan, Hugh E. Miller, W. F. Green, Wm. R. Bush, Angus Paterson, Robt. F. Rogers,
John D. Broome, Henry C. Hicks, Henry W. Chandler, Jas. Wood Davidson, J. D.
Goss, William T. Weeks, Thos. N. Bell, E. J. Lutterloh, Chas. W. Lewis, J. R.
Herndon, H. L. Parker, Wallace B. Carr, Paul Hatch, J. M. Landrum, W. B. Tedder,
B. J. Earle, Robert Henderson, Irving Gillis, L. D. Carson, Geo. P. Fowler,
A. L. Wellman, Jeff Alexis Hendley, Jno. Parsons, W. H. Cook, A. S. Mann, John
W. Tompkins, Alex Zipperer, Thos. E. Clarke, H. H. Duncan, Hannibal Rowe, T.
L. Clarke, Robert Robinson, John F. Marshall, John B. Johnston, W. A. Hocker.