Constitution plays an important role in the lives of Floridians everywhere. But the
constitution Florida has today is very different from the original. In
fact, there have been numerous versions of the document, and as voters
continue to amend it, there are minor changes made to it seemingly every
year. Below is an overall summary of the
versions of Florida's Constitutions and how it has been modified.
Different Versions of Florida's Constitution
Florida's original constitution was created by 56 delegates and was
the precursor to Florida being admitted to the Union in 1845. The original
constitution established a judicial, legislative, and executive branch
of government, but it also protected slavery and prevented free African
Americans from entering the state.
A new constitution was needed when Floridians wanted to secede from the
Union in 1861. But other than establishing the Confederacy as its new
country, the constitution of 1861 did little else. It still protected
slavery and still had three major branches of government.
After losing the civil war, many southern states had to adopt new constitutions
to reflect the changes the war caused. Florida did this in 1868. Advances
in this version included allowing all males to vote, and established seats
in the House and Senate for Seminole Indians. Many at the time felt that
this version of the constitution was forced on them from the North. As
a result, Floridians changed this version soon after.
In 1885 a new constitution was adopted that attempted to reverse the advances
of the 1868 constitution. To do so, the new version created a poll tax
that prevent poor people of all races, but particularly African Americans,
from voting. This version also weakened the governor by limiting that
office to one term, and required cabinet officials to be elected.
Current Version of Florida's Constitution
Florida's current constitution was passed in 1968 when Florida continued
to grow in population size. The current version has 12 articles and has
reversed the discriminatory portions of past constitutions. In an effort
to keep the constitution current and applicable to each new generation
of voters, the new constitution established a Constitution Revision Commission
whose responsibility it is to review, revise, and submit amendments to
the Florida Constitution. Amendments to the new constitution can happen
in five different ways:
- Through a citizen's initiative;
- By a joint resolution of Florida's legislature;
- By a recommendation by the Constitution Revision Committee;
- Through a recommendation by the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission; or
- By Constitutional convention.
An important part of the amendment process is submitting proposed amendments
to the Florida Supreme Court to test whether it is constitutional or not.
This helps reduce the cost of waiting for an amendment to pass, and then
going through the expensive litigation process before the Supreme Court
has a chance to hear a case.
Florida's current constitution plays an important role in accident
and injury cases heard by courts all over Florida on a daily basis. It
is important to know that the attorney taking on your case knows the ins
and outs of the Florida Constitution, and can apply those principles to
your case. The Pittman Firm is dedicated to serving accident and injury
victims in the Panama City area.
Contact us if you have been injured in an accident so we can evaluate your case for you.