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 obtaining safety.
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 inviolate forever.
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
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 suspension.
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
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 fraud.
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 State.
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
Section 21. The military shall in all cases and at all times be in strict subordination to the civil
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 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
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 elected.
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 prescribe.
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 the Journal.
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 Representatives.
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 therewith.
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
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 compensation.
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 subject.
Section 31. The Legislature shall elect United States Senators in the manner prescribed by the
Congress of the United States and by this Constitution.
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 its passage.
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
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 States.
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
Section 6. The Governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
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
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 Legislature.
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
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 by law.
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 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 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
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 other
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
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 a referee.
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 the peace.
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 to vote.
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 Florida."
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 Representatives.
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 thereafter.
COUNTIES AND CITIES.
Section 1. The State shall be divided into political divisions to be called counties.
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
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
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 State.
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 purpose.
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 by misfortune.
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
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 Article.
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
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 women.
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
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
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
Section 5. The principal of the State School Fund shall remain sacred and inviolate.
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 same.
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 equitable.
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
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 common vagrants.
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 society.
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 Prison.
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
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 prescribe.
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 own requisition.
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
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 the same.
Section 18. The Legislature shall provide for deductions from the salaries of public officers who
neglect the performance of any duty assigned them by law.
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 voter.
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
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 law.
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 forfeitures.
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 amendment separately.
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 otherwise
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
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
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 Constitution.
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
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 election.
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 XIX."
ORDINANCE NO. 3.
Be it Ordained by the People of Florida, Represented in Constitutional Convention:
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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