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


proceedings. The Senate shall, at the convening of each regular session thereof, choose from among its own members a permanent President of the Senate, who shall be its presiding officer. The House of Representatives shall, at the convening of each regular session thereof, choose from among its own members a permanent Speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be its presiding officer. Each House may punish its own members for disorderly conduct; and each House, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all of its members present, may expel a member.

Section 7. No person holding a lucrative office or appointment under the United States or this State, shall be eligible to a seat in the Legislature of this State.

Section 8. The seat of a member of either House shall be vacated on his permanent change of residence from the district or county from which he was elected.

Section 9. Either House during the session may punish by fine or imprisonment any person not a member who shall have been guilty of disorderly or contemptuous conduct in its presence, or of a refusal to obey its lawful summons, but such imprisonment shall not extend beyond the final adjournment of the session.

Section 10. Either House shall have power to compel the attendance of witnesses upon any investigations held by itself, or by any of its committees; the manner of the exercise of such power shall be provided by law.

Section 11. A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the presence of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as it may prescribe.

Section 12. Each House shall keep a journal of its own proceedings, which shall be published, and the yeas and nays of the members of either House on any question shall, at the desire of any five members present, be entered on the Journal.