Constitution of 1868

Congress passed a series of laws known as the Reconstruction Acts in 1867. These laws required the former Confederate states to dissolve existing state governments, register all eligible men (white or African-American) to vote, and then hold conventions to create new state constitutions. To be readmitted to the United States, each state’s constitution had to accept the end of slavery and adopt the 14th amendment, which guaranteed equal rights for all men, regardless of race. Florida’s voters selected delegates to a state constitutional convention in November 1867. The convention met on January 20, 1868, and the new constitution was ratified by the voters the following May.

Constitution of 1868


Section 14. 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 15. 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 of the final passage of every bill, or joint resolution, shall be taken by yeas and nays, to be entered in the journal of each house, 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 clerk of the Assembly.

Section 16. No money shall be drawn from the Treasury except by appropriation made by law, and 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 17. 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, or for the punishment of crime or misdemeanor; regulating the practice of courts of justice; providing for changing venue of civil and criminal cases; granting divorces; changing the names of persons; vacating roads, town plats, streets, alleys, and public squares; summoning and empaneling grand and petit juries, and providing for their compensation; regulating county, township, and municipal business; regulating the election of county, township, and municipal officers; for the assessment and collection of taxes for State, county, and municipal purposes; providing for opening and conducting elections for State, county, and municipal officers, and designating the places of voting; providing for the sale of real estate belonging to minors or other persons laboring under legal disabilities; regulating the fees of officers.

Section 18. In all cases enumerated in the preceding section, and in all other cases where a general law can be made applicable, all laws shall be general and of uniform operation throughout the State.