|I • II • III • IV • V • VI • VII • VIII • IX • X • XI • XII|
- 1 Features
- 2 Preamble
- 3 Article I: "Declaration of Rights"
- 4 Article II: "General Provisions"
- 5 Article III: "Legislature"
- 6 Article IV: "Executive"
- 7 Article V: "Judiciary"
- 8 Article VI: "Suffrage and Elections"
- 9 Article VII: "Finance and Taxation"
- 10 Article VIII: "Local Government"
- 11 Article IX: "Education"
- 12 Article X: "Miscellaneous"
- 13 Article XI: "Amendments"
- 14 Article XII: "Schedule"
- 15 Amendment process
- 16 History
- 17 See also
- 18 External links
- 19 Additional reading
- 20 References
- See also: Preambles to state constitutions
The Preamble to the Florida Constitution states:
The Florida Constitution begins with a Declaration of Rights, which is similar to the U.S. Bill of Rights. The Florida Declaration of Rights, however, is much longer than the federal version, as it has 27 sections. Among other things, Article I of the Florida Constitution guarantees trial by jury, due process, freedom of the press and of religion. It also forbids, among other things, the passage of ex post facto laws and cruel and unusual punishment.
Article II sets up the state's boundaries and provides for executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.
Article III establishes the Florida State Legislature as a bicameral body. The upper house is not to have more than 40 members elected to four year terms, and the lower house is not to have more than 120 members elected to two year terms.
Article IV governs the election of the governor and lieutenant governor, as well as the cabinet. It specifies that the cabinet must consist of an Attorney General, a Chief Financial Officer and a Commissioner of Agriculture, all of whom must be elected rather than appointed.
Article VI addresses election regulations and requirements of voters.
Article VII establishes tax rules and regulations.
Article VIII establishes local governments, from counties to municipalities and the transfer of powers.
Article VIII sets up the system of public education, pre-school through college, in the state, the State Board of Education and the election of its members and the state school fund.
Article X includes various provisions, from militia and vacancies in offices to the lottery and minimum wage.
Article XI establishes the process to amend the Florida Constitution.
Article XII set up the transition between the 1885 and 1968 Constitutions.
- See also: Amending state constitutions
There are more paths to amending the Florida Constitution than are available in any other state. Article XI specifies these different methods:
- Section 1 says that the Florida Legislature can put a proposed amendment on the ballot if 60 percent or more of the legislators in each chamber agree to do so in a joint resolution.
- Section 2 says that starting 30 days before the 2017 session of the state legislature convenes, and every 20 years thereafter, a Florida Constitution Revision Commission shall meet. It can recommend proposed amendments or revisions, which will go on a statewide ballot.
- Section 3, with some limits, grants the people the right to initiated constitutional amendments.
- Section 4 grants the people the right to put a question on the ballot as to whether a convention shall be called. The question asked is, "Shall a constitutional convention be held?" (In order to put that question on the ballot, more signatures need to be collected than are required to qualify a standard initiated constitutional amendment for the ballot.)
- Section 6 establishes the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, which can decide on proposed constitutional amendments to go before the people. It meets every 20 years starting in 2007.
Except as noted below, all amendments proposed, regardless of the method of amendment, must be approved by 60 percent of the voters in an election held simultaneously with the next general election (that is, the next one at least 90 days after the amendment is filed with the custodian of state records) before they become a part of the constitution.
- Amendments involving creation of new state taxes or fees require a two-thirds approval of the voters.
- The Florida Legislature, via a three-fourths majority, may pass a law calling for a special election date on any amendment (again, which must be 90 days after the amendment is filed with the custodian of state records).
1812 Patriot Constitution
In March 1812, Spanish East Florida was invaded by settlers from Georgia known as the Patriot Army. The group had support from the United States government to try to convince the inhabitants of the area to declare independence from Spain so that the United States might claim them as a territory. By early 2013, the federal government retracted their support, and the Patriot Army abandoned their cause. The 1812 Patriot Constitution can be viewed here.
The 1838 Florida Constitution
The 1838 Constitution was written so that Florida would be recognized as a state. The constitutional convention to establish this document began on December 3, 1838. The final version of this document can be viewed here.
Ordinance of secession, 1861
In order to secede from the United States, Florida had to change its constitution. A copy of the revised constitution was presented on January 10, 1861.
The 1865 Florida Constitution
In order to re-enter the United States, Florida had to construct a new constitution. However, Congress rejected the adopted version and instead put Florida under Radical Reconstruction, or military rule, until 1868.
The 1868 Florida Constitution
The 1868 Constitution returned control of the state to civilians.
The 1885 Florida Constitution
- State constitution
- Constitutional article
- Constitutional amendment
- Constitutional revision
- Constitutional convention
- Florida Constitution
- Florida's Early Constitutions - The Florida Constitutions of 1838, 1861, 1865, 1868, and 1885.
- D'Alemberte, Talbot. (2011). The Florida State Constitution, New York, New York: Oxford University Press