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Florida Constitutional Law: State Constitution

Florida Constitution: Basics

Just as the U.S. Constitution serves as the foundation for all law in this country, so does the Florida Constitution serve as the basis for all Florida law.  Unlike the U.S. Constitution, however, the Florida Constitution is quite long and detailed.  The outline for the powers and structure of Florida’s government are delineated.  The Florida Constitution also includes provisions ranging from pregnant pigs to marine net fishing.

Resources for Finding the Text and Amendments

Text

  • Current

The text of the current version of the Florida Constitution can be found in several places, including the most recent set of Florida Statutes.  Digital versions can be found in Lexis and Westlaw.  Online Sunshine also has an online version. 

  • Older Versions

For conducting historical legal research, previous versions of the Florida Constitution may be needed.  The history of any amendments or changes can be found at the end of each section in the versions available on Online Sunshine and in print.  They can also be found at Florida Memory and The Federal and State Constitutions Archives.

 

Amendments

The Florida Constitution is amended much more easily and frequently than the U.S. Constitution.  As a result, it’s important to ensure that any research includes consultation of the most recent version. 

Amendments to the Florida Constitution are added by gaining the approval of at least 60% of those voting on them at a general election.  Amendments may be proposed via the following five ways:

  • Legislative proposal – drafted as Joint Resolutions and voted on by the legislative chambers in much the same manner as a bill.
  • Constitutional Revision Commission – must be convened within 30 days of the 2017 session of the Florida Legislature and each 20th year thereafter.
  • Taxation and Budget Reform Commission- must be convened within 30 days of the 2007 session of the Florida Legislature and each 20th year thereafter.
  • Citizen Initiative – citizens may make proposals for amendments.  To make it on the ballot, citizen petitions must be signed by a number equal to at least 8% of the voters in the last presidential election and also meet certain other requirements.
  • Constitutional convention – citizens can also direct that a constitutional convention can be convened to write an entirely new constitution. This extremely time-consuming process has not been used in Florida since the 19th century.
  • (A summary of recent Initiatives, Amendments, and Revisions can be found through: Florida Division of Elections- Initiatives/Amendments/Revisions)

Amendment proposals, including their language, sponsor, and brief summaries can be found online at the following links.

Information

This page was copied and adapted from the Florida Legal Research Guide created by Sarah Schuler.