FLORIDA. The name of one of the new states of the United States of America. It was admitted into the Union by virtue of the act of congress, entitled An Act for the admission of the states of Iowa and Florida into the Union, approved March 3, 1845.
2. The constitution was adopted on the eleventh day of January, eighteen hundred and thirty-nine. The powers of the government are divided into three distinct branches, namely, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial,
3. - §1. Of the legislative power. 1. The legislative power of this state shall be vested in two distinct branches, the one to be styled the senate, the other the house of representatives, and both together, "The General Assembly of the State of Florida," and the style of the laws shall be, "Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Florida in General Assembly convened."
4. 2. A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business, but smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members in such. manner, and under such penalties, as each house may prescribe.
5. - 3. Each house may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the consent of two-thirds, expel a member; but not a second time for the same cause.
6. - 4. Each house, during the session, may punish by imprisonment, any person not a member, for disrespectful or disorderly behaviour in its presence, or for obstructing any of its proceedings, provided such imprisonment shall not extend beyond the end of the session.
7. - 5. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and cause the same to be published immediately after its adjournment, and the yeas and nays of, the members of each house shall be taken, and entered upon the journals, upon the final passage of every bill, and may, by any two members, be required upon any other question, and any member of either house shall have liberty to dissent from, or protest against, any act or resolution which he may think injurious to the public, or an individual, and have the reasons of his dissent entered on the journal.
8. - 6. Senators and representatives shall in all cases, except treason, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of the general assembly, and in going to, or returning from the same, allowing one day for every twenty miles such member may reside from the place at which the general assembly is convened; and for any speech or debate, in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place.
9. - 7. The general assembly shall make provision, by law, for filling vacancies that may occur in either house, by the death, resignation, (or otherwise,) of any of its members.
10. - 8. The doors of each house shall be open, except on such occasions as, in the opinion of the house, the public safety may imperiously require secrecy.
11. - 9. Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor, to any other place than that in which they may be sitting.
12. - 10. Bills may originate in either house of the general assembly, and all bills passed by one house may be discussed, amended or rejected by the other; but no bill shall have the force of law until, on three several days, it be read in each house, and free discussion be allowed thereon, unless in cases of urgency, four-fifths of the house in which the same shall be depending, may deem it expedient to dispense with the rule; and every bill, having passed both houses, shall be signed by the speaker and president of their respective houses.
13. - 11. Each member of the general assembly shall receive from the public treasury such compensation for his services,as may be fixed by law, but no increase of compensation shall take effect during the term for which the representatives were elected when such law passed.
14. - 12. The sessions of the general assembly shall be annual, and commence on the fourth Monday in November in each year, or at such other time as may be prescribed by law.
15. The senators will be considered with regard, 1. To the qualification of the electors. 2. The qualification of the members. 3. The number of members. 4. The time of their election. 5. The length of service.
16. - 1st. The senators shall be elected by the qualified voters. Const. art. 4, s. 5.
17. - 2d. No man shall be a senator unless be be a white man, a citizen of the United States, and shall have been an inhabitant of Florida two years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof a resident of the district or county for which he shall be chosen, and shall have attained the age of twenty-five years. Const. art. 4, s. 5. And to this there are the following exceptions: All banking officers of any bank in the state are ineligible until after twelve-months after they shall go out of such office. Art. 6, 3. All persons who shall fight, or send, or accept a duel, the probable issue of which may be death, whether committed in or out of the state. Art. 6, s. 5. All collectors or holders of public money. Art. 6, s. 6. All ministers of the Gospel. Art. 6, s. 1 0. All persons who shall have procured their elections by bribery. All members of congress, or persons holding or exercising any, office of profit under the United States, or under a foreign power. Art. 6, s. 18.
18. - 3d. The number of senators may be varied by the general assembly, but it shall never be less. than one-fourth, nor more than one-half of the whole number of the house of representatives. Art. 9, s. 2.
19. - 4th. The time and place of their election is the same as those for the house of representatives. Art. 4, s. 5.
20. - 5th. They are elected for the term of two years. Art. 4, s. 5.
21. The house of representatives will be considered under the same beads.
22. - 1st. Members of the house of representatives shall be chosen by the qualified voters.
23. - 2d. No person shall be a representative unless he be a white man, a citizen of the United States, and shall have been an inhabitant of the state two years next preceding his election, and the last year thereof a resident of the county for which he shall be chosen, and have attained the age of twenty-one years. Art. 4, s. 4. And the same persons are disqualified, who are disqualified as senators.
24. - 3d. The number of members shall never exceed sixty. Art. 4, s. 18.
25. - 4th. The. time of holding the election is the first Monday of October annually.
26. - 5th. Members of the house of representatives are elected for one year from the day of the commencement of the general election, andno longer. Art. 4, s. 2.
27. - §2. Of the executive. The supreme executive power is vested in a chief magistrate, who is styled the governor of Florida. Art. 3.
28. No person shall be eligible to the office of governor, unless he shall have attained the age of thirty years, shall have been a citizen of the United States ten years, or an inhabitant of Florida at the time of the adoption of the constitution, (being a citizen of the United States,) and shall have resided in Florida at least five years preceding the day of election.
29. The governor shall be elected for four years, by the qualified electors, at the time and place where they shall vote for representatives; and shall remain in office until a successor shall be chosen and qualified, and shall not be eligible to reelection until the expiration of four years thereafter. 30. His general powers are as follows: 1. He is commander-in-chief of the army, navy, and militia of the state. 2. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. 3 . He may require information from the officers of -the executive department. 4. He may convene the general assembly by proclamation upon particular occasions. 5. He shall, from time to time, give information to the general assembly. 6. He may grant pardons, after conviction, in all cases except treason and impeachment, and in these cases, with the consent of the senate; and he may respite the sentence in these cases until the end of the next session of the senate. 7. He, may approve or veto bills.
31. In case of vacancy in the office of governor, the president of the senate shall act in his place, and in case of his default, the speaker of the house of representatives shall fill the office of governor. Art. 3, s. 21.
32. - §3. Of the judicial department. 1. The judicial power of this state, both as to matters of law and equity, shall be vested in a supreme court, courts of chancery, circuit courts, and justices of the peace: Provided, the, general assembly may also vest such criminal jurisdiction as may be deemed necessary in corporation courts; but such jurisdiction shall not extend to capital offences. Art. 5, s. 1.
33. - 2. Justices of the supreme court, chancellors, and judges of the circuit courts, shall be elected by, the concurrent vote of a majority of both houses of the general assembly. Art. 5, s. 11.
34. - 3. The judges of the circuit courts shall, at the first session. of the general assembly to be holden under the constitution, be elected for the term of five years and shall hold their office, for that term, unless sooner removed, under the provisions in the constitution; and at the expiration of five years, the justices of the supreme courts, and the judges of the circuit courts, shall be elected for the term of, and during their good behaviour.
35. Of the supreme court. 1. The powers of the supreme court are vested in, and its duties performed by, the judges of the several circuit courts, and they, or a majority of them, shall hold such session of the supreme court, and at such time and place as may be directed by law. Art. 5, s. 3. But no justice of the supreme court shall sit as judge, or take any part in the appellate court, on the trial or hearing of any case which shall have been decided by him in the court below. Art. 5, s. 18.
36. - 2. The supreme court, except in cases otherwise directed in this constitution, shall have appellate jurisdiction only. Provided, that the said court shall always have power to issue writs of injunction, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus, and such other remedial and original writs, as may be necessary to give it a general superintendance and control of all other courts. Art. 5, s. 2 .
37. - 3. The supreme court shall exercise appellate jurisdiction in all cases brought by appeal or writ of error from the several circuit courts, when the matter in controversy exceeds in amount or value fifty dollars.
38. Of the circuit courts. 1. The state is to be divided into circuits, and the circuit courts, held within such circuits, shall have original jurisdiction in all matters, civil and criminal, within the state, not otherwise excepted in this constitution. Art. 5, s. 6.