Constitution of 1885

Delegates convened in June 1885 to revise Florida’s state constitution. The existing constitution had been in effect since 1868, when it was adopted as part of Florida’s reentry into the United States following the Civil War. The 1885 constitution legitimized poll taxes as a prerequisite for voting, which ultimately disproportionately disenfranchised African Americans and many poor whites.

Constitution of 1885


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