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




Section 1. The Legislative authority of this State shall be vested in a Senate and a House of Representatives, which shall be designated, "The Legislature of the State of Florida," and the sessions thereof shall be held at the seat of government of the State.

Section 2. The regular sessions of the Legislature shall be held biennially, commencing on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in April, A. D. 1887, and on the corresponding day of every second year thereafter, but the Governor may convene the same in extra session by his proclamation. Regular sessions of the Legislature may extend to sixty days, but no special session convened by the Governor shall exceed twenty days.

Section 3. The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen biennially, those of the first Legislature on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, A. D. 1886, and thereafter on the corresponding day of every second year.

Section 4. Senators and members of the House of Representatives shall be duly qualified electors in the respective counties and districts for which they were chosen. The pay of members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall not exceed six dollars a day for each day of session, and mileage to and from their houses to the seat of government, not to exceed ten cents a mile each way, by the nearest and most practicable route.

Section 5. No Senator or member of the House of Representatives shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed or elected to any civil office under the Constitution of this State, that has been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time.

Section 6. Each House shall judge of the qualifications, elections and returns of its own members, choose its own officers, and determine the rules of its