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 13. The doors of each House shall be kept open during its session, except the Senate while sitting in Executive session; and neither shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, or to any other town than that in which they may be holding their session.

Section 14. Any bill may originate in either House of the Legislature, and after being passed in one House may be amended in the other.

Section 15. The enacting clause of every law shall be as follows: "Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida."

Section 16. 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 17. 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 on the final passage of every bill or joint resolution shall be taken by yeas and nays, to be entered on the Journal of each House; Provided, That any general revision of the entire laws embodied in any bill shall not be required to be read by sections upon its final passage, and its reading may be wholly dispensed with by a two-thirds vote; 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 the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Section 18. No law shall take effect until sixty days from the final adjournment of the session of the Legislature at which it may have been enacted, unless otherwise