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Constitution of 1885:
Adopted by the
CONVENTION OF 1885
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.
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 3. The right of trial by jury shall be secured to all, and remain
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 8. Excessive 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 detained.
Section 9. All persons shall be bailable by
sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, where the proof is evident
or the presumption great.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 14. No person shall be compelled to pay costs except after
conviction, on a final trial.
Section 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 of grievances.
Section 16. No person shall be imprisoned for debts except in cases of
Section 17. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, nor any law
impairing the obligation of contracts, shall ever be passed.
Section 18. Foreigners shall have the same rights as to the ownership,
inheritance and disposition of property in this State as citizens of the
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 21. The military shall in all cases and at all times be in strict
subordination to the civil power.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 24. This enunciation of rights shall not be construed to impair or
deny others retained by the people.
The boundaries 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 beginning.
DISTRIBUTION OF POWER.
The powers 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
Section 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.
Section 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 twenty days.
Section 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.
Section 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 practicable route.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 14. Any bill may originate in either House of the Legislature, and
after being passed in one House may be amended in the other.
Section 15. The enacting clause of every law shall be as follows: "Be
it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida."
Section 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.
Section 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 of
Section 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.
Section 19. Accurate 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 22. Provision may be made by general law for bringing suit against
the State as to all liabilities now existing or hereafter originating.
Section 23. Lotteries are hereby prohibited in this State.
Section 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
Section 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 necessary.
Section 26. Laws shall be passed regulating elections, and prohibiting,
under adequate penalties, all undue influence thereon from power, bribery,
tumult or other improper practice.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 30. Laws making appropriations for the salaries of public officers
and other current expenses of the State shall contain provisions on no other
Section 31. The Legislature shall elect United States Senators in the
manner prescribed by the Congress of the United States and by this
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 1. The Supreme Executive power of the State shall be vested in a
Chief Magistrate, who shall be styled the Governor of Florida.
Section 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.
Section 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 them.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 6. The Governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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 deem expedient.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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 action 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 in office.
Section 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.
Section 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 by law.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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 by law.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 28. The administrative officers of the Executive Department shall
be installed on the same day as the Governor.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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 firstelection
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 election.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
The Seventh Judicial Circuit shall be composed of the counties of Volusia,
Brevard, Orange and Dade.
Section 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.
Section 12. The Circuit Courts and Circuit Judges may have such extra
territorial jurisdiction in chancery cases as may be prescribed by law.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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 by law.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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 years.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 25. The said courts shall have jurisdiction of all criminal cases
not capital which shall arise in said counties respectively.
Section 26. There shall be six terms of said courts in each year.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 29. The County Courts in counties where such Criminal Courts are
established shall have no criminal jurisdiction and no prosecuting Attorney.
Section 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.
Section 31. The State Attorney residing in the county where such Court is
held shall be eligible for appointment as County Solicitor for said county.
Section 32. Such courts may be abolished by the Legislature.
Section 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.
Section 34. The Legislature may establish in incorporated towns and
cities, courts for the punishment of offenses against municipal ordinances.
Section 35. No courts other than those herein specified shall be
established in this State.
Section 36. All judicial officers in this State shall be conservators of
Section 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.
Section 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.
SUFFRAGE AND ELIGIBILITY.
Section 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 Constitution.
Section 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
Section 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
Section 4. 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 civil rights.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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 school fund.
Section 9. The Legislature shall enact such laws as will preserve the
purity of the ballot given under this Constitution.
CENSUS AND APPORTIONMENT.
Section 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 be elected.
Section 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.
Section 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 three
Section 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.
Section 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
COUNTIES AND CITIES.
Section 1. The State shall be divided into political divisions to be
Section 2. The several counties as they now exist are hereby recognized as
the legal political divisions of the State.
Section 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.
Section 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 by law.
Section 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.
Section 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 law.
Section 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.
Section 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.
TAXATION AND FINANCE.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 3. No tax shall be levied except in pursuance of law.
Section 4. No money shall be drawn from the treasury except in pursuance
of appropriations made by law.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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 assessed.
Section 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
Section 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 individual.
HOMESTEAD AND EXEMPTIONS.
Section 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
Section 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 section.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 6. The Legislature shall enact such laws as may be necessary to
enforce the provisions of this Article.
MARRIED WOMEN'S PROPERTY.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 3. The Legislature shall enact such laws as shall be necessary to
carry into effect this Article.
Section 1. The Legislature shall provide for a uniform system of public
free schools, and shall provide for the liberal maintenance of the same.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Twenty-five per cent. of the sales of public
lands which are now or may hereafter be owned by the State.
Section 5. The principal of the State School Fund shall remain sacred and
Section 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.
Section 7. Provision 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 years.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 12. White and colored children shall not be taught in the same
school, but impartial provision shall be made for both.
Section 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.
Section 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 may demand.
Section 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.
Section 1. Institutions 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.
Section 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
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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 by law.
Section 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
Section 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 uniforms.
Section 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.
Section 1. The Legislature shall establish a State Board of Health and
also County Boards of Health in all counties where it may be necessary.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 1. The Seat of Government shall be at the City of Tallahassee, in
the county of Leon.
Section 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.
Section 3. The salary of each officer shall be payable quarterly upon his
Section 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 county seat.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 7. The Legislature shall not create any office, the term of which
shall be longer than four years.
Section 8. A plurality of votes given at an election of officers shall
constitute a choice when not otherwise provided by this Constitution.
Section 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.
Section 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 continue.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 14. All State, County and Municipal officers shall continue in
office after the expiration of their official terms until their successors
are duly qualified.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 18. The Legislature shall provide for deductions from the salaries
of public officers who neglect the performance of any duty assigned them by
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 22. The Legislature shall provide for giving to mechanics and
laborers an adequate lien on the subject matter of their labor.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 4. Nothing contained in this Constitution shall operate to vacate
the office of Lieutenant Governor until the expiration of his present term.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 7. In all cases of elections to fill vacancies in office such
election shall be for the unexpired term.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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
Section 2. The Legislature shall provide necessary laws to carry out and
enforce the provisions of Section 1 of this Article.
ORDINANCE NO. 1.
Section 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 or rejection.
Section 2. 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.
ORDINANCE NO. 2.
Section 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
ORDINANCE NO. 3.
Be it Ordained by the People of Florida, Represented in Constitutional
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 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.
Section 5. The Legislature shall make an appropriation at its next session
to pay said certificates.
Section 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 expenses.
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.
S. PASCO, President.
J. E. Yonge, First Vice-President.
Wm. H. Reynolds, Secretary Convention.
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.
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