A Guide to Florida Governors and the Florida Cabinet

Florida Cabinet (1845 – present)

Introduction: Florida’s Cabinet, along with the Florida governor, oversees the executive branch of Florida’s government and functions as a collective rule and decision making body. Unique among the nation’s fifty states, the Cabinet is comprised of elected officers and designed as a collegial government body. Up until 2003, Florida was the only state to have a Governor plus a Cabinet consisting of six independently and constitutionally elected state executives. Consisting of three members since 2003, the Cabinet and governor together comprise several executive boards, while each Cabinet officer also oversees a different area of responsibility. Each Cabinet member serves a four-year term with a two-term limit and is wholly responsible for the administration of at least one executive branch agency. The Governor is responsible for the administration of most other executive branch agencies through appointed board members, commissioners, and directors.

The composition of the Cabinet has changed significantly over the years. Begun informally in 1845 with three members, the Cabinet swelled to eight members in 1868 and then decreased to six from 1885 to 2003. On January 7, 2003 (after the passage of a 1998 Constitutional amendment), the Cabinet was reduced to three elected members (Chief Financial Officer, Attorney General, Commissioner of Agriculture), with the remaining officers reverting to gubernatorial appointments.

1838 (effective 1845)* [ 1838 Constitution, Article III ]

1868 [ 1868 Constitution, Article V ]

1885 [ 1885 Constitution, Article IV ]

1968 [ 1968 Constitution ]

1998 (effective 2003) [ 1998 Constitutional amendment, Section 4 ]

*Remained the same in the 1861 and 1865 Constitutions

Records of the Florida Cabinet

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