Difference between revisions of "Florida Constitution"

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{{FLConstitution}}{{TOCnestright}}The '''Florida Constitution''' is the basic governing document of [[Florida]]. It establishes and describes the duties, powers, structure and function of the government of [[Florida]] and establishes the basic law of the state.  The current Florida Constitution was adopted by the state's voters on November 5, 1968. It includes twelve articles.
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{{FLConstitution}}{{tnr}}The '''Florida Constitution''' is the basic governing document of [[Florida]]. It establishes and describes the duties, powers, structure and function of the government of [[Florida]] and establishes the basic law of the state.  The current Florida Constitution was adopted by the state's voters on November 5, 1968. It includes twelve articles.<ref name="fl">[http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Constitution ''Florida State Senate'', "Florida Constitution", accessed March 26, 2014]</ref>
  
 
==[[Preamble, Florida Constitution|Preamble]]==
 
==[[Preamble, Florida Constitution|Preamble]]==
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| <center>''We, the people of the State of Florida, being grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, in order to secure its benefits, perfect our government, insure domestic tranquility, maintain public order, and guarantee equal civil and political rights to all, do ordain and establish this constitution.''</center>
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| <center>''We, the people of the State of Florida, being grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, in order to secure its benefits, perfect our government, insure domestic tranquility, maintain public order, and guarantee equal civil and political rights to all, do ordain and establish this constitution.''<ref name="fl"/></center>
 
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==History==
 
==History==
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 +
===1812 Patriot Constitution===
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In March 1812, a group of [[Georgia]] settlers known as the "Patriot Army," with ''de facto'' support from the U.S. government, invaded Spanish East Florida. The Patriots hoped to convince the inhabitants of Spanish East Florida to join their cause and proclaim independence from Spain. Once independence was achieved, the Patriots would transfer control of the territory to the [[United States]]. The Patriots eventually lost their support from the U.S. government and abandoned the Florida project in early 1813. The 1812 Patriot Constitution can be viewed [http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/264067 here].
 +
 
===The 1838 Florida Constitution===
 
===The 1838 Florida Constitution===
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One of the requirements for a territory to become part of the Union is that its constitution be approved by [[Congress]]. [http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/189087 Florida's 1838 Constitution] was the product of the convention held in St. Joseph, Florida, which began December 3, 1838, and was used to fulfill this requirement.
  
One of the requirements for a United States territory to become a State of the Union is that its constitution be approved by the United States Congress. In order to fulfill that requirement, an Act was passed by the Territorial Council in 1838, approved by Governor Richard Keith Call, calling for the election of delegates in October of 1838 to a convention to be held at St. Joseph, Florida. The delegates were to draft a constitution and bill of rights for the Territory of Florida. The Constitutional Convention convened on December 3, 1838 with Robert R. Reid presiding as president and Joshua Knowles secretary. The work of the Convention was carried out by eighteen committees, whose members were familiar with that particular area of government. The process was a relatively simple one, since they used the constitutions of several other Southern states as models. Only on the subject of banking did much debate take place. The Convention adjourned ''sine die'' on January 9, 1839.
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A handwritten copy of the 1838 Constitution or "Form of Government for the People of Florida," signed by Convention President, Robert Raymond Reid, and Convention Secretary, Joshua Knowles resides at the State Archives of Florida. Considered "a secretary's copy" this document is the only known copy of the 1838 Constitution. The original Constitution, signed by all the delegates, has never been found.<ref name="history">[http://www.floridamemory.com/Collections/Constitution/ ''Florida Memory.com'', "Florida's Early Constitutions", accessed March 26, 2014]</ref>
 
+
A handwritten copy of the 1838 Constitution or "Form of Government for the People of Florida," signed by Convention President, Robert Raymond Reid, and Convention Secretary, Joshua Knowles resides at the State Archives of Florida. Considered "a secretary's copy" this document is the only known copy of the 1838 Constitution. The original Constitution, signed by all the delegates, has never been found.
+
  
 
===Ordinance of secession, 1861===
 
===Ordinance of secession, 1861===
 
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The Civil War catalyzed an election in 1860 in Florida for a convention "for the purpose of taking into consideration the position of this State in the Federal Union." This convention met in [[Tallahassee, Florida|Tallahassee]] on January 3, 1861, and had produced for adoption on January 10 an [http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/189088 Ordinance of Secession and a constitution], which largely altered the existing Constitution by substituting "Confederate States" for "United States" and declared Florida to be "a sovereign and independent nation." <ref name="history"/>
The onrush of the American Civil War brought in Florida the election in 1860 of a convention "for the purpose of taking into consideration the position of this State in the Federal Union." Pursuant to an Act of the Legislature approved November 30, 1860, governor Madison S. Perry issued a proclamation calling an election on Saturday, December 22, 1860, for delegates to a Convention to address the issue of whether Florida had a right to withdraw from the Union. The Secession Convention met on January 3, 1861 in Tallahassee and produced for adoption on January 10 an Ordinance of Secession and a Constitution which largely altered the existing Constitution by substituting "Confederate States" for "United States" and by declaring Florida to be "a sovereign and independent nation." Hon. John C. McGehee of Madison County was elected president of the Convention, and the Convention ratified the Constitution adopted by the Confederate States of America on April 13 and adjourned sine die on April 27, 1861.
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Since the Convention generally approved of Governor Perry's actions it made no move to interfere with his administration; however, when Governor John Milton took office in October of 1861 and reversed some policies of his predecessor, a move was started to reconvene the Convention. President McGehee issued a proclamation on December 13 for the convention to meet on January 14, 1862, at Tallahassee. McGehee expressed concern over two matters: the state's finances and the powers of the Governor during wartime. To remedy the latter, the members appointed an Executive Council of four men to share the executive authority because they felt that the powers of a wartime executive should not be placed in the hands of one man. The Convention adjourned sine die on January 27, 1862.
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===The 1865 Florida Constitution===
 
===The 1865 Florida Constitution===
 
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To re-enter the Union under Presidential Reconstruction, a constitution was created by a convention called by the appointed governor. On October 10, 1865, the Constitutional Convention met in Tallahassee to nullify the Ordinance of Secession of 1861 and adopt a [http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/189093 new constitution] for Florida. The 1865 Constitution went into effect on November 7, 1865, without being submitted to the people for ratification; though, since it was never ratified, this constitution was never truly in effect. The [[U.S. Congress]] rejected it and put Florida under military rule until 1868 when a new constitution was written.<ref name="history"/>
To re-enter the union under Presidential Reconstruction a constitution was created by a convention called by the appointed governor. On October 10, 1865, the Constitutional Convention met in Tallahassee to nullify the Ordinance of Secession of 1861 and adopt a new constitution for the State of Florida. The new constitution went into effect on November 7, 1865, without being submitted to the people for ratification. The Constitution of 1865 was never fully effective. The U.S. Congress rejected it and put Florida under Radical Reconstruction, i.e. military rule, until July 1868 when a new constitution was written.
+
  
 
===The 1868 Florida Constitution===
 
===The 1868 Florida Constitution===
 
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Florida's [http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/189095 1868 Reconstruction Constitution] returned civilian control of the state. Pursuant to an Act of Congress, General John Pope, Commander of the 3rd Military District, issued an order on April 8, 1867, dividing the 39 counties of the State into 19 districts for the election of delegates to a convention to frame a new constitution. The Constitution was adopted by the people of Florida in May 1868, Florida was recognized as being restored to the Union, and Florida's [[U.S. Senate|Senators]] and [[U.S. House of Representatives|Representatives]] were admitted to Congress. It also enfranchised black males and required each voter to take an oath of loyalty to the State of Florida and the United States Government.<ref name="history"/>
The Reconstruction constitution returned civilian control of the state.
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Florida became subject to the military authority of the federal government in 1867. Pursuant to an Act of Congress, General John Pope, Commander of the 3rd Military District, issued an order on April 8, 1867, dividing the 39 counties of the State into 19 districts for the election of delegates to a convention to frame a new State Constitution. The Constitution had to conform with the Federal Constitution and with the 13th and 14th Amendments. The Convention met in Tallahassee on January 20, 1868. As the Convention began its functions, bitter factions were formed, and only under after federal government intervention was the Convention brought under control. The Convention reconvened on February 18, 1868, and Horatio Jenkins, Jr. was elected President. The Constitution was adopted by the people of Florida in May 1868. It conferred electoral franchise upon "male persons" instead of "white male persons" as by the 1865 Constitution. With its acceptance by the federal military authorities, the State of Florida was recognized as being restored to the Union, and its Senators and Representatives were admitted to Congress.
+
  
 
===The 1885 Florida Constitution===
 
===The 1885 Florida Constitution===
  
The 1885 Constitution reversed some of the aspects of the 1868 Constitution. It established the makeup of the state government that continued until 1968.
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Florida's [http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/189169 1885 Constitution] ultimately reversed some of the aspects of the 1868 Constitution. It also established the makeup of the state government that continued until 1968. The 1885 constitution was submitted to the citizens of Florida for ratification in November 1886. It was ratified by a 31,803 to 21,243 vote.<ref name="history"/>
 
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The 1885 Legislature enacted Chapter 3577 calling for a Constitutional Convention in order to revise the Constitution of 1868. In May 1885 a general election for the selection of delegates was held throughout the state. The Convention met in Tallahassee from June 9 to August 3, 1885. Samuel Pasco of Jefferson County, Florida presided. Pursuant to Ordinance No. 1 of the Convention, the Constitution was submitted to the citizens of Florida for ratification in November 1886. The 1885 Constitution was ratified by a 31,803 to 21,243 vote.
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The new constitution legitimized poll taxes as prerequisites for voting, thus contributing to the disenfranchisement of blacks (and many poor whites as well).
+
  
 
===Ratification of the current constitution===
 
===Ratification of the current constitution===
  
The current Florida Constitution, the Constitution of 1968, was proposed on June 24-July 3 of 1968 via three joint resolutions in special sessions of the Florida Legislature. House Joint Resolution 1-2X included all revisions except for Article V, Article VI, and Article VIII. Senate Resolution 4-2X proposed the new Article VI which relates to elections and suffrage. Senate Resolution 5-2X proposed a new Article VIII which defined law regarding local government. Article V was included from the 1885 constitution as amended.
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The current Florida Constitution, the Constitution of 1968, was proposed in 1968 via three joint resolutions in special sessions of the [[Florida State Legislature]]. [[Florida House of Representatives|House]] Joint Resolution 1-2X included all revisions except for [[Article V, Florida Constitution|Article V]], [[Article VI, Florida Constitution|Article VI]] and [[Article VIII, Florida Constitution|Article VIII]]. [[Florida State Senate|Senate]] Resolution 4-2X proposed the new Article VI, which relates to elections and suffrage. Senate Resolution 5-2X proposed a new Article VIII, which defined law regarding local government. Article V was included from the 1885 constitution as amended.
  
The constitution was ratified via referendum by the electorate on November 5, 1968.
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The constitution was ratified via [[referendum]] by the electorate on November 5, 1968.<ref name="history"/>
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
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==External links==
 
==External links==
 
{{submit a link}}
 
{{submit a link}}
* [http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Constitution Text of the Constitution of the state of Florida]
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* [http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Constitution Florida Constitution]
 +
* [http://www.floridamemory.com/Collections/Constitution/ Florida's Early Constitutions] - The Florida Constitutions of 1838, 1861, 1865, 1868, and 1885.
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
 
{{reflist}}
 
{{reflist}}
* [http://www.floridamemory.com/Collections/Constitution/ Florida's Early Constitution] The Florida Constitutions of 1838, 1861, 1865, 1868, and 1885.
 
  
 
{{Florida Constitution}}
 
{{Florida Constitution}}
 
{{State constitutions}}
 
{{State constitutions}}
 
{{Florida}}
 
{{Florida}}

Revision as of 21:12, 27 March 2014

Florida Constitution
750px-Flag of Florida.svg.png
Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXII
The Florida Constitution is the basic governing document of Florida. It establishes and describes the duties, powers, structure and function of the government of Florida and establishes the basic law of the state. The current Florida Constitution was adopted by the state's voters on November 5, 1968. It includes twelve articles.[1]

Preamble

See also: Preambles to state constitutions

The Preamble to the Florida Constitution states:

We, the people of the State of Florida, being grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, in order to secure its benefits, perfect our government, insure domestic tranquility, maintain public order, and guarantee equal civil and political rights to all, do ordain and establish this constitution.[1]

Article I: "Declaration of Rights"

The Florida Constitution begins with a Declaration of Rights, which is similar to the U.S. Bill of Rights; however, like most state bills of rights, Florida's is broader than the federal version. Among other things, 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: "General Provisions"

The Florida constitution provides for an executive, legislative and judicial branch. Unlike the United States Constitution, it mandates a separation of powers. The Florida Supreme Court has interpreted the "separation of powers" requirement to prohibit both encroachment by any one branch on the powers held by another, and delegation by any branch of its powers.

Article III: "Legislature"

Article III requires that the Florida Legislature be a bicameral body, with an upper house of not more than 40 members elected to four year terms, and a lower house of not more 120 members elected to two year terms.

Article IV: "Executive"

Article IV governs the election of the Florida Governor and Lieutenant Governor, and of the Florida Cabinet. It currently specifies that the cabinet will consist of an Attorney General, a Chief Financial Officer and a Commissioner of Agriculture with specifically defined powers, and it designates them as elected offices rather than appointed.

Article V: "Judiciary"

Article V establishes the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida District Courts of Appeal, as well as circuit and county courts, describes how they are to be appointed, and sets forth their jurisdiction.

Article VI: "Suffrage and Elections"

Article VI addresses the requirements for voters and when voting rights are disqualified.

Article VII: "Finance and Taxation"

Article VII specifically prohibits the levying of an income tax, except via very strict limitations. The article further delineates the purposes for which bonds can be issued, and requires that certain bonds be approved by the voters in the affected area.

Article VIII: "Local Government"

Article VIII covers local government, distinguishing between charter counties and non-charter counties.

Article IX: "Education"

Article VIII addresses both PK-12 and college/university public education.

Article X: "Miscellaneous"

Article X includes various provisions about fishing, gambling and abortion, among other topics.

Article XI: "Amendments"

The method of "compilation" for the Florida Constitution is unlike that of the federal constitution. When the Florida Constitution is amended, the official text of the document is edited, removing language that is no longer in force.

Article XII: "Schedule"

This article provides a transition between the 1885 and 1968 Constitutions.

Amendment process

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% 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.

Amendment approval

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).

History

1812 Patriot Constitution

In March 1812, a group of Georgia settlers known as the "Patriot Army," with de facto support from the U.S. government, invaded Spanish East Florida. The Patriots hoped to convince the inhabitants of Spanish East Florida to join their cause and proclaim independence from Spain. Once independence was achieved, the Patriots would transfer control of the territory to the United States. The Patriots eventually lost their support from the U.S. government and abandoned the Florida project in early 1813. The 1812 Patriot Constitution can be viewed here.

The 1838 Florida Constitution

One of the requirements for a territory to become part of the Union is that its constitution be approved by Congress. Florida's 1838 Constitution was the product of the convention held in St. Joseph, Florida, which began December 3, 1838, and was used to fulfill this requirement.

A handwritten copy of the 1838 Constitution or "Form of Government for the People of Florida," signed by Convention President, Robert Raymond Reid, and Convention Secretary, Joshua Knowles resides at the State Archives of Florida. Considered "a secretary's copy" this document is the only known copy of the 1838 Constitution. The original Constitution, signed by all the delegates, has never been found.[2]

Ordinance of secession, 1861

The Civil War catalyzed an election in 1860 in Florida for a convention "for the purpose of taking into consideration the position of this State in the Federal Union." This convention met in Tallahassee on January 3, 1861, and had produced for adoption on January 10 an Ordinance of Secession and a constitution, which largely altered the existing Constitution by substituting "Confederate States" for "United States" and declared Florida to be "a sovereign and independent nation." [2]

The 1865 Florida Constitution

To re-enter the Union under Presidential Reconstruction, a constitution was created by a convention called by the appointed governor. On October 10, 1865, the Constitutional Convention met in Tallahassee to nullify the Ordinance of Secession of 1861 and adopt a new constitution for Florida. The 1865 Constitution went into effect on November 7, 1865, without being submitted to the people for ratification; though, since it was never ratified, this constitution was never truly in effect. The U.S. Congress rejected it and put Florida under military rule until 1868 when a new constitution was written.[2]

The 1868 Florida Constitution

Florida's 1868 Reconstruction Constitution returned civilian control of the state. Pursuant to an Act of Congress, General John Pope, Commander of the 3rd Military District, issued an order on April 8, 1867, dividing the 39 counties of the State into 19 districts for the election of delegates to a convention to frame a new constitution. The Constitution was adopted by the people of Florida in May 1868, Florida was recognized as being restored to the Union, and Florida's Senators and Representatives were admitted to Congress. It also enfranchised black males and required each voter to take an oath of loyalty to the State of Florida and the United States Government.[2]

The 1885 Florida Constitution

Florida's 1885 Constitution ultimately reversed some of the aspects of the 1868 Constitution. It also established the makeup of the state government that continued until 1968. The 1885 constitution was submitted to the citizens of Florida for ratification in November 1886. It was ratified by a 31,803 to 21,243 vote.[2]

Ratification of the current constitution

The current Florida Constitution, the Constitution of 1968, was proposed in 1968 via three joint resolutions in special sessions of the Florida State Legislature. House Joint Resolution 1-2X included all revisions except for Article V, Article VI and Article VIII. Senate Resolution 4-2X proposed the new Article VI, which relates to elections and suffrage. Senate Resolution 5-2X proposed a new Article VIII, which defined law regarding local government. Article V was included from the 1885 constitution as amended.

The constitution was ratified via referendum by the electorate on November 5, 1968.[2]

See also

StateConstitutions Ballotpedia.jpg

External links

BallotpediaAvatar bigger.png
Suggest a link

References