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Florida Constitution Revision Commission

PUB 700119: Complete Overhaul of the Constitution by Loyal Millett - Withdrawn by the Submitter

ARTICLE I: DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, Section 24. Access to public records and meetings.

SECTION 24.Access to public records and meetings.
  1. Every person has the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received in connection with the official business of any public body, officer, or employee of the state, or persons acting on their behalf, except with respect to records exempted pursuant to this section or specifically made confidential by this Constitution. This section specifically includes the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government and each agency or department created thereunder; counties, municipalities, and districts; and each constitutional officer, board, and commission, or entity created pursuant to law or this Constitution.
  2. All meetings of any collegial public body of the executive branch of state government or of any collegial public body of a county, municipality, school district, or special district, at which official acts are to be taken or at which public business of such body is to be transacted or discussed, shall be open and noticed to the public and meetings of the legislature shall be open and noticed as provided in Article III, Section 4(e), except with respect to meetings exempted pursuant to this section or specifically closed by this Constitution.
  3. This section shall be self-executing. The legislature, however, may provide by general law passed by a two-thirds vote of the membership thereof each house for the exemption of records from the requirements of subsection (a) and the exemption of meetings from the requirements of subsection (b), provided that such law shall state with specificity the public necessity justifying the exemption and shall be no broader than necessary to accomplish the stated purpose of the law. The legislature shall enact laws governing the enforcement of this section, including the maintenance, control, destruction, disposal, and disposition of records made public by this section, except that each house of the legislature may adopt rules governing the enforcement of this section in relation to records of the legislative branch. Laws enacted pursuant to this subsection shall contain only exemptions from the requirements of subsections (a) or (b) and provisions governing the enforcement of this section, and shall relate to one subject.
  4. All laws that are in effect on July 1, 1993 that limit public access to records or meetings shall remain in force, and such laws apply to records of the legislative and judicial branches, until they are repealed. Rules of court that are in effect on the date of adoption of this section that limit access to records shall remain in effect until they are repealed.

ARTICLE I: DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, Section 26. Claimant’s right to fair compensation.

SECTION 26.Claimant’s right to fair compensation.
  1. Article I, Section 26 is created to read "Claimant's right to fair compensation." In any medical liability claim involving a contingency fee, the claimant is entitled to receive no less than 70% of the first $250,000.00 in all damages received by the claimant, exclusive of reasonable and customary costs, whether received by judgment, settlement, or otherwise, and regardless of the number of defendants. The claimant is entitled to 90% of all damages in excess of $250,000.00, exclusive of reasonable and customary costs and regardless of the number of defendants. This provision is self-executing and does not require implementing legislation.
  2. This Amendment shall take effect on the day following approval by the voters.

ARTICLE I: DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, Section 27. Marriage defined.

SECTION 27. Marriage defined.

Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.

ARTICLE II: GENERAL PROVISIONS, Section 2. Seat of government.

SECTION 2.Seat of government.

The seat of government shall be the City of Tallahassee, in Leon County, where the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, cabinet members and the supreme court shall be maintained and the sessions of the legislature shall be held; provided that, in time of invasion or grave emergency, the governor by proclamation may for the period of the emergency transfer the seat of government to another place.

(a) The offices and residences of the Governor, the Lieutenant-Governor, and the Florida Cabinet shall be located in the City of Saint Augustine, in Saint Johns County.

(b) The Legislature shall meet in the City of Tampa, in Hillsborough County; except that, in time of invasion or grave emergency, natural or manmade disaster, the Governor may by proclamation, for the period of the emergency, transfer the Legislature to another place.

(c) The Supreme Court shall meet annually in the City of Miami, in Miami-Dade County; the City of Orlando, in Orange County; and the City of Tallahassee, in Leon County.

(d) The Florida National Guard shall relocate to the City of Pensacola, in Escambia County.

(e) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shall relocate to the City of Naples, in Collier County.

(f) The Governor's Mansion, the old State Capitol Building, and the current State Capitol Building shall all become property of Florida State Parks.

ARTICLE II: GENERAL PROVISIONS, Section 4. State seal and flag.

SECTION 4.

State seal and flagFlags and Seals.

The design of the great seal and flag of the state shall be prescribed by law.

(a) GREAT SEAL. There shall be a Great Seal of the State of Florida, which shall be kept by the Secretary of State, and shall be designed as prescribed by law.

(b) STATE FLAG. The current flag of the State of Florida shall be replaced no later than March 3, 2020. The new and redesigned flag shall become effective upon the approval vote of the electors of the State.

(c) GOVERNOR'S FLAG. There shall be a flag for the Governor which shall be designed as prescribed by law.

(d) LOCAL SEALS AND FLAGS. Each of the counties shall design and adopt, upon the approval vote of the electors thereof, an official seal and a flag.

(e) RESTRICTIONS.

(1) No seal or flag of the State, the Governor, the Legislature, the Judiciary, the counties, or the municipalities, shall bear any resemblance of the national, naval, or battle flags of the former Confederate States of America.

(2) None of the said Confederate flags shall be flown from any building, facility, park, library, educational institution, courthouse, jailhouse, or any other structure that is owned and operated by the State, the Legislature, the Judiciary, the counties, or the municipalities.

(3) The displaying of the said Confederate flags within properly-designated exhibits at museums or historic sites shall be permitted.

ARTICLE II: GENERAL PROVISIONS, Section 7. Natural resources and scenic beauty.

SECTION 7. Natural resources and scenic beauty.
  1. It shall be the policy of the state to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty. Adequate provision shall be made by law for the abatement of air and water pollution and of excessive and unnecessary noise and for the conservation and protection of natural resources.
  2. Those in the Everglades Agricultural Area who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection Area or the Everglades Agricultural Area shall be primarily responsible for paying the costs of the abatement of that pollution. For the purposes of this subsection, the terms "Everglades Protection Area" and "Everglades Agricultural Area" shall have the meanings as defined in statutes in effect on January 1, 1996.

ARTICLE II: GENERAL PROVISIONS, Section 8. Ethics in government.

SECTION 8.Ethics in government.

A public office is a public trust. The people shall have the right to secure and sustain that trust against abuse. To assure this right:

  1. All elected constitutional officers and candidates for such offices and, as may be determined by law, other public officers, candidates, and employees shall file full and public disclosure of their financial interests.
  2. All elected public officers and candidates for such offices shall file full and public disclosure of their campaign finances.
  3. Any public officer or employee who breaches the public trust for private gain and any person or entity inducing such breach shall be liable to the state for all financial benefits obtained by such actions. The manner of recovery and additional damages may be provided by law.
  4. Any public officer or employee who is convicted of a felony involving a breach of public trust shall be subject to forfeiture of rights and privileges under a public retirement system or pension plan in such manner as may be provided by law.
  5. No member of the legislature or statewide elected officer shall personally represent another person or entity for compensation before the government body or agency of which the individual was an officer or member for a period of two years following vacation of office. No member of the legislature shall personally represent another person or entity for compensation during term of office before any state agency other than judicial tribunals. Similar restrictions on other public officers and employees may be established by law.
  6. There shall be an independent commission to conduct investigations and make public reports on all complaints concerning breach of public trust by public officers or employees not within the jurisdiction of the judicial qualifications commission.
  7. A code of ethics for all state employees and nonjudicial officers prohibiting conflict between public duty and private interests shall be prescribed by law.
  8. This section shall not be construed to limit disclosures and prohibitions which may be established by law to preserve the public trust and avoid conflicts between public duties and private interests.
  9. Schedule—On the effective date of this amendment and until changed by law:
    1. Full and public disclosure of financial interests shall mean filing with the custodian of state records by July 1 of each year a sworn statement showing net worth and identifying each asset and liability in excess of $1,000 and its value together with one of the following:
      1. A copy of the person's most recent federal income tax return; or
      2. A sworn statement which identifies each separate source and amount of income which exceeds $1,000. The forms for such source disclosure and the rules under which they are to be filed shall be prescribed by the independent commission established in subsection (f), and such rules shall include disclosure of secondary sources of income.
    2. Persons holding statewide elective offices shall also file disclosure of their financial interests pursuant to subsection (i)(1).
    3. The independent commission provided for in subsection (f) shall mean the Florida Commission on Ethics.

 

ARTICLE II: GENERAL PROVISIONS, Section 9. English is the official language of Florida.

SECTION 9.

English is the official language Official languages of Florida.

  1. English and Spanish are is the official languages of the State of Florida.
  2. The legislature shall have the power to enforce this section by appropriate legislation.

ARTICLE II: GENERAL PROVISIONS, New Section.

Catchline: State Symbols.

(1) STATE FLOWERS. The official flower is the ghost-orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii).

(2) STATE WILDFLOWER. The official wildflower is the Coreopsis.

(3) STATE AQUATIC PLANT. The official aquatic plant is duckweed (Lemna valdiviana or Spirodela polyrhiza).

(4) STATE GRASS. The official grass is sawgrass (Cladium jamaicensis).

(5) STATE SOIL. The official soil is Myakka fine sand (sandy, siliceous, hyperthermic Aeric Haplaquods).

(6) STATE STONE. The official stone is agatized coral, a chalcedony pseudomorph after coral, appearing as limestone geodes lined with botryoidal agate or quartz crystals and drusy quartz fingers.

(7) STATE GEM. The official gem is the moonstone, a transparent or translucent feldspar of pearly or opaline luster.

(8) STATE MINERAL. The official mineral is calcite.

(9) STATE FOSSIL. The official fossil is the Metaxytherium floridanum.

(10) STATE SHELL. The official shell is the horse conch (Pleuroploca gigantea).

(11) STATE TREE. The official tree is the sabal palmetto.

(12) STATE FRUIT. The official fruit is the orange (Citrus sinensis and hybrids thereof).

(13) STATE VEGETABLE. The official vegetable is the greenbean (Phaseolus vulgaris).

(14) STATE COLORS. The official colors are Orange, Green, White, and Red.

(15) STATE ANIMAL. The official animal is the Dolphin (Porpoise).

(16) STATE BIRD. The official bird is the Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja).

(17) STATE WATERFOWL. The official waterfowl is the Florida Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula).

(18) STATE GAME BIRD: The official game bird is the Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).

(19) STATE RAPTOR. The official raptor is the Florida Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis).

(20) STATE LAND MAMMAL. The official land mammal is the Florida Panther.

(21) STATE FLYING MAMMAL. The official flying mammal is the Seminole Bat (Lasiurus seminolus).

(22) STATE MARINE MAMMAL. The official marine mammal is the Florida Manatee.

(23) STATE FRESHWATER FISH. The official freshwater fish is the Suwannee Bass (Microterpus notius).

(24) STATE SALTWATER FISH. The official saltwater fish is the Atlantic Sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus).

(25) STATE CRUSTACEAN. The official crustacean is the Florida Stone Crab (Menippe mercenaria).

(26) STATE BUTTERFLY. The official butterfly is the Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia).

(27) STATE INSECT. The official insect is the Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis).

(28) STATE REPTILES. The official reptiles are the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus).

(29) STATE LAND REPTILE. The official land reptile is the Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus).

(30) STATE MARINE REPTILE. The official marine reptile is the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta).

(31) STATE AMPHIBIAN. The official amphibian is the Reticulated Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma bishopi).

(32) STATE HORSE. The official horse is the Florida Cracker Horse (Marshtackie).

(33) STATE CATTLE. The official cattle is the Florida Cracker Cattle.

(34) STATE BEVERAGE. The official beverage is the juice obtained from mature oranges of the species Citrus sinensis or hybrids thereof.

(35) STATE MORNING BEVERAGE. The official morning beverage is Cuban coffee.

(36) STATE SANDWICH. The official sandwich is the Cuban sandwich.

(37) STATE DESSERT. The official dessert is key lime pie.

(38) STATE HONEY. The official honey is Tupelo honey.

(39) STATE APPETIZER. The official appetizer is conch fritters.

(40) STATE GAME. The official game is dominoes.

(41) STATE TEAM SPORT. The official team sport is baseball.

(42) STATE INDIVIDUAL SPORT. The official individual sport is snorkeling.

(43) STATE DOG. The official dog is the Florida cracker cur.

(44) STATE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT. The official musical instrument is the banjo.

(45) STATE BERRY. The official berry is the blackberry.

(46) STATE BOAT. The official boat is the Seminole tribal dugout canoe.

(47) STATE CORAL. The official coral is staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis).

(48) STATE SPACECRAFT. The official spacecraft are the space shuttle orbiters of the NASA Space Shuttle Program, namely: the Enterprise, the Columbia, the Challenger, the Discovery, the Atlantis, and the Endeavour.

(49) STATE SYMBOL OF SPACE EXPLORATION. The official symbol of space exploration is the Apollo 11 spaceflight that launched from Merritt Island on July 16, 1969 and successfully landed the first two humans on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

(50) STATE SHIP. The official ship is the USS Florida (SSGN-728) submarine.

(b) Additional symbols for the State of Florida may be designated by the Governor or the Legislature.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 1. Composition.

SECTION 1.Composition.

The legislative power of the state shall be vested in a legislature of the State of Florida, consisting of a senate composed of one senator elected from each senatorial district and a house of representatives composed of one member elected from each representative district.

The legislative power of the State shall be vested in a Legislature of the State of Florida, consisting of a single house composed of 225 senators--one senator elected from each legislative district.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 2. Members; officers.

SECTION 2.Members; officers.

Each house The Legislature shall be the sole judge of the qualifications, elections, and returns of its members, and shall biennially choose its officers, including a permanent presiding officer selected from its membership, who shall be designated the Speaker of the Legislature. in the senate as President of the Senate, and in the house as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The senate shall designate a Secretary to serve at its pleasure, and the house of representatives No person shall serve as the Speaker in excess of four years. The Legislature shall designate a Clerk to serve at its pleasure. The legislature Legislature shall appoint an auditor to serve at its pleasure who shall audit public records and perform related duties as prescribed by law or concurrent resolution.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 3. Sessions of the legislature.

SECTION 3. Sessions of the legislature.
  1. ORGANIZATION SESSIONS. On the fourteenth day following each general election the legislature shall convene for the exclusive purpose of organization and selection of officers.
  2. REGULAR SESSIONS. A regular session of the legislature shall convene on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March of each odd-numbered year, and on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March, or such other date as may be fixed by law, of each even-numbered year.
  3. SPECIAL SESSIONS.
    1. The governor, by proclamation stating the purpose, may convene the legislature in special session during which only such legislative business may be transacted as is within the purview of the proclamation, or of a communication from the governor, or is introduced by consent of two-thirds of the membership of each house.
    2. A special session of the legislature may be convened as provided by law.
  4. LENGTH OF SESSIONS. A regular session of the legislature shall not exceed sixty consecutive days, and a special session shall not exceed twenty consecutive days, unless extended beyond such limit by a three-fifths vote of each house. During such an extension no new business may be taken up in either house without the consent of two-thirds of its membership.
  5. ADJOURNMENT. Neither house shall adjourn for more than seventy-two consecutive hours except pursuant to concurrent resolution.
  6. ADJOURNMENT BY GOVERNOR. If, during any regular or special session, the two houses cannot agree upon a time for adjournment, the governor may adjourn the session sine die or to any date within the period authorized for such session; provided that, at least twenty-four hours before adjourning the session, and while neither house is in recess, each house shall be given formal written notice of the governor's intention to do so, and agreement reached within that period by both houses on a time for adjournment shall prevail.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 4. Quorum and procedure.

SECTION 4.Quorum and procedure.
  1. A majority of the membership of each house the Legislature shall constitute a quorum, 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. Each house The Legislature shall determine its rules of procedure.
  2. Sessions of each house the Legislature shall be public.; except sessions of the senate when considering appointment to or removal from public office may be closed.
  3. Each house The Legislature shall keep and publish a journal of its proceedings; and upon the request of five members present, the vote of each member voting on any question shall be entered on the journal. In any legislative committee or subcommittee, the vote of each member voting on the final passage of any legislation pending before the committee, and upon the request of any two members of the committee or subcommittee, the vote of each member on any other question, shall be recorded.
  4. Each house The Legislature may punish a member for contempt or disorderly conduct and, by a two-thirds vote of its membership, may expel a member.
  5. The rules of procedure of each house the Legislature shall provide that all legislative committee and subcommittee meetings of each housethe Legislature, and joint conference committee meetings, shall be open and noticed to the public. The rules of procedure of each house the Legislature shall further provide that all prearranged gatherings, between more than two members of the legislatureLegislature, or between the governorGovernor, the president of the senate, or the speaker of the house of representatives, or the Speaker of the Legislature, the purpose of which is to agree upon formal legislative action that will be taken at a subsequent time, or at which formal legislative action is taken, regarding pending legislation or amendments, shall be reasonably open to the public. All open meetings shall be subject to order and decorum. This section shall be implemented and defined by the rules of each housethe Legislature, and such rules shall control admission to the floor of each the legislative chamber and may, where reasonably necessary for security purposes or to protect a witness appearing before a committee, provide for the closure of committee meetings. Each house The Legislature shall be the sole judge for the interpretation, implementation, and enforcement of this section.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 5. Investigations; witnesses.

SECTION 5.Investigations; witnesses.

Each house, The Legislature, when in session, may compel attendance of witnesses and production of documents and other evidence upon any matter under investigation before it or any of its committees, and may punish by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars $1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding ninety days, or both, any person not a member who has been guilty of disorderly or contemptuous conduct in its presence or has refused to obey its lawful summons or to answer lawful questions. Such powers, except the power to punish, may be conferred by law upon committees when the legislature is not in session. Punishment of contempt of an interim legislative committee shall be by judicial proceedings as prescribed by law.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 7. Passage of bills.

SECTION 7.Passage of bills.

Any bill may originate in either house and after passage in one may be amended in the other. It shall be read in each house Any bill in the Legislature shall be read on three separate days, unless this rule is waived by two-thirds vote; provided the publication of its title in the journal of the Legislaturea house shall satisfy the requirement for the first reading in that housethe Legislature. On each reading, it shall be read by title only, unless one-third of the members present desire it read in full. On final passage, the vote of each member voting shall be entered on the journal. Passage of a bill shall require a majority vote in each housethe Legislature. Each bill and joint resolution passed in both houses 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 in the Legislature shall be signed by the Speaker and the Clerk of the Legislature during the session or as soon as practicable after its adjournment sine die.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 8. Executive approval and veto.

SECTION 8. Executive approval and veto.
  1. Every bill passed by the legislature shall be presented to the governor for approval and shall become a law if the governor approves and signs it, or fails to veto it within seven consecutive days after presentation. If during that period or on the seventh day the legislature adjourns sine die or takes a recess of more than thirty days, the governor shall have fifteen consecutive days from the date of presentation to act on the bill. In all cases except general appropriation bills, the veto shall extend to the entire bill. The governor may veto any specific appropriation in a general appropriation bill, but may not veto any qualification or restriction without also vetoing the appropriation to which it relates.
  2. When a bill or any specific appropriation of a general appropriation bill has been vetoed, the governor shall transmit signed objections thereto to the house in which the bill originated if in session. If that house is not in session, the governor shall file them with the custodian of state records, who shall lay them before that house at its next regular or special session, whichever occurs first, and they shall be entered on its journal. If the originating house votes to re-enact a vetoed measure, whether in a regular or special session, and the other house does not consider or fails to re-enact the vetoed measure, no further consideration by either house at any subsequent session may be taken. If a vetoed measure is presented at a special session and the originating house does not consider it, the measure will be available for consideration at any intervening special session and until the end of the next regular session.
  3. If each house shall, by a two-thirds vote, re-enact the bill or reinstate the vetoed specific appropriation of a general appropriation bill, the vote of each member voting shall be entered on the respective journals, and the bill shall become law or the specific appropriation reinstated, the veto notwithstanding.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 9. Effective date of laws.

SECTION 9.Effective date of laws.

Each law shall take effect on the sixtieth day after adjournment sine die of the session of the legislature in which enacted or as otherwise provided therein. If the law is passed over the veto of the governor it shall take effect on the sixtieth day after adjournment sine die of the session in which the veto is overridden, on a later date fixed in the law, or on a date fixed by resolution passed by the legislature. both houses of the legislature.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 11. Prohibited special laws.

SECTION 11.Prohibited special laws.
  1. There shall be no special law or general law of local application pertaining to:
    1. election, jurisdiction or duties of officers, except officers of municipalities, chartered counties, special districts or local governmental agencies;
    2. assessment or collection of taxes for state or county purposes, including extension of time therefor, relief of tax officers from due performance of their duties, and relief of their sureties from liability;
    3. rules of evidence in any court;
    4. punishment for crime;
    5. petit juries, including compensation of jurors, except establishment of jury commissions;
    6. change of civil or criminal venue;
    7. conditions precedent to bringing any civil or criminal proceedings, or limitations of time therefor;
    8. refund of money legally paid or remission of fines, penalties or forfeitures;
    9. creation, enforcement, extension or impairment of liens based on private contracts, or fixing of interest rates on private contracts;
    10. disposal of public property, including any interest therein, for private purposes;
    11. vacation of roads;
    12. private incorporation or grant of privilege to a private corporation;
    13. effectuation of invalid deeds, wills or other instruments, or change in the law of descent;
    14. change of name of any person;
    15. divorce;
    16. legitimation or adoption of persons;
    17. relief of minors from legal disabilities;
    18. transfer of any property interest of persons under legal disabilities or of estates of decedents;
    19. hunting or fresh water fishing;
    20. regulation of occupations which are regulated by a state agency; or
    21. any subject when prohibited by general law passed by a three-fifths vote of the membership of each housethe legislature. Such law may be amended or repealed by like vote.
  2. In the enactment of general laws on other subjects, political subdivisions or other governmental entities may be classified only on a basis reasonably related to the subject of the law.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 15. Terms and qualifications of legislators.

SECTION 15.Terms and qualifications of legislators.
  1. SENATORS. Senators shall be elected for terms of four years, those from odd-numbered districts in the years the numbers of which are multiples of four and those from even-numbered districts in even-numbered years the numbers of which are not multiples of four; except, at the election next following a reapportionment, some senators shall be elected for terms of two years when necessary to maintain staggered terms.In the first general election following each decennial federal census, the senators from even-numbered districts shall be elected for terms of 2 years, 4 years, and 4 years; and the senators from odd-numbered districts shall be elected for terms of 4 years, 2 years, and 4 years.
  2. REPRESENTATIVES. Members of the house of representatives shall be elected for terms of two years in each even-numbered year.
  3. QUALIFICATIONS. Each legislator senator shall be at least twenty-one 18 years of age, an elector and resident of the district from which elected and shall have resided in the state for a period of two years prior to election.
  4. ASSUMING OFFICE; VACANCIES. Members of the legislature shall take office upon electionon the first Monday of December after their election. Vacancies in legislative office shall be filled only by election as provided by law.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 16. Legislative apportionment.

SECTION 16. Legislative apportionment.
  1. SENATORIAL AND REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICTS. The legislature at its regular session in the second year following each decennial census, by joint resolution, shall apportion the state in accordance with the constitution of the state and of the United States into not less than thirty nor more than forty consecutively numbered senatorial districts of either contiguous, overlapping or identical territory, and into not less than eighty nor more than one hundred twenty consecutively numbered representative districts of either contiguous, overlapping or identical territory. Should that session adjourn without adopting such joint resolution, the governor by proclamation shall reconvene the legislature within thirty days in special apportionment session which shall not exceed thirty consecutive days, during which no other business shall be transacted, and it shall be the mandatory duty of the legislature to adopt a joint resolution of apportionment.
  2. FAILURE OF LEGISLATURE TO APPORTION; JUDICIAL REAPPORTIONMENT. In the event a special apportionment session of the legislature finally adjourns without adopting a joint resolution of apportionment, the attorney general shall, within five days, petition the supreme court of the state to make such apportionment. No later than the sixtieth day after the filing of such petition, the supreme court shall file with the custodian of state records an order making such apportionment.
  3. JUDICIAL REVIEW OF APPORTIONMENT. Within fifteen days after the passage of the joint resolution of apportionment, the attorney general shall petition the supreme court of the state for a declaratory judgment determining the validity of the apportionment. The supreme court, in accordance with its rules, shall permit adversary interests to present their views and, within thirty days from the filing of the petition, shall enter its judgment.
  4. EFFECT OF JUDGMENT IN APPORTIONMENT; EXTRAORDINARY APPORTIONMENT SESSION. A judgment of the supreme court of the state determining the apportionment to be valid shall be binding upon all the citizens of the state. Should the supreme court determine that the apportionment made by the legislature is invalid, the governor by proclamation shall reconvene the legislature within five days thereafter in extraordinary apportionment session which shall not exceed fifteen days, during which the legislature shall adopt a joint resolution of apportionment conforming to the judgment of the supreme court.
  5. EXTRAORDINARY APPORTIONMENT SESSION; REVIEW OF APPORTIONMENT. Within fifteen days after the adjournment of an extraordinary apportionment session, the attorney general shall file a petition in the supreme court of the state setting forth the apportionment resolution adopted by the legislature, or if none has been adopted reporting that fact to the court. Consideration of the validity of a joint resolution of apportionment shall be had as provided for in cases of such joint resolution adopted at a regular or special apportionment session.
  6. JUDICIAL REAPPORTIONMENT. Should an extraordinary apportionment session fail to adopt a resolution of apportionment or should the supreme court determine that the apportionment made is invalid, the court shall, not later than sixty days after receiving the petition of the attorney general, file with the custodian of state records an order making such apportionment.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 17. Impeachment.

SECTION 17.Impeachment.
  1. The governor, lieutenant- governor, members of the cabinet, justices of the supreme court, judges of district courts of appeal, judges of circuit courts, judges of the environmental courts, and judges of county courts shall be liable to impeachment for misdemeanor in office. The house of representatives legislature by two-thirds vote shall have the power to impeach an officer. The speaker of the house of representatives legislature shall have power at any time to appoint a committee to investigate charges against any officer subject to impeachment.
  2. An officer impeached by the house of representatives legislature shall be disqualified from performing any official duties until acquitted by the senatecourt of impeachment, and, unless impeached, the governor may by appointment fill the office until completion of the trial.
  3. All impeachments by the house of representatives legislature shall be tried by the senatecourt of impeachment, which consists of the legislature. The chief justice of the supreme court, or another justice designated by the chief justice, shall preside at the trial, except in a trial of the chief justice, in which case the governor shall preside. The senate court of impeachment shall determine the time for the trial of any impeachment and may sit for the trial whether the house of representatives legislature be in session or not. The time fixed for trial shall not be more than six three months after the impeachment. During an impeachment trial senators shall be upon their oath or affirmation. No officer shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the senate court of impeachment present. Judgment of conviction in cases of impeachment shall remove the offender from office and, in the discretion of the senatecourt of impeachment, may include permanent disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit. Conviction or acquittal shall not affect the civil or criminal responsibility of the officer.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 19. State Budgeting, Planning and Appropriations Processes.

SECTION 19.State Budgeting, Planning and Appropriations Processes.
  1. ANNUAL BUDGETING.
    1. General law shall prescribe the adoption of annual state budgetary and planning processes and require that detail reflecting the annualized costs of the state budget and reflecting the nonrecurring costs of the budget requests shall accompany state department and agency legislative budget requests, the governor's recommended budget, and appropriation bills.
    2. Unless approved by a three-fifths vote of the membership of each housethe legislature, appropriations made for recurring purposes from nonrecurring general revenue funds for any fiscal year shall not exceed three percent of the total general revenue funds estimated to be available at the time such appropriation is made.
    3. As prescribed by general law, each state department and agency shall be required to submit a legislative budget request that is based upon and that reflects the long-range financial outlook adopted by the joint legislative budget commission or that specifically explains any variance from the long-range financial outlook contained in the request.
    4. For purposes of this section, the terms department and agency shall include the judicial branch.
  2. APPROPRIATION BILLS FORMAT. Separate sections within the general appropriation bill shall be used for each major program area of the state budget; major program areas shall include: education enhancement "lottery" trust fund items; education (all other funds); human services; criminal justice and corrections; natural resources, environment, growth management, and transportation; general government; and judicial branch. Each major program area shall include an itemization of expenditures for: state operations; state capital outlay; aid to local governments and nonprofit organizations operations; aid to local governments and nonprofit organizations capital outlay; federal funds and the associated state matching funds; spending authorizations for operations; and spending authorizations for capital outlay. Additionally, appropriation bills passed by the legislature shall include an itemization of specific appropriations that exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) in 1992 dollars. For purposes of this subsection, "specific appropriation," "itemization," and "major program area" shall be defined by law. This itemization threshold shall be adjusted by general law every four years to reflect the rate of inflation or deflation as indicated in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, U.S. City Average, All Items, or successor reports as reported by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics or its successor. Substantive bills containing appropriations shall also be subject to the itemization requirement mandated under this provision and shall be subject to the governor's specific appropriation veto power described in Article III, Section 8.
  3. APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS.
    1. No later than September 15 of each year, the joint legislative budget commission shall issue a long-range financial outlook setting out recommended fiscal strategies for the state and its departments and agencies in order to assist the legislature in making budget decisions. The long-range financial outlook must include major workload and revenue estimates. In order to implement this paragraph, the joint legislative budget commission shall use current official consensus estimates and may request the development of additional official estimates.
    2. The joint legislative budget commission shall seek input from the public and from the executive and judicial branches when developing and recommending the long-range financial outlook.
    3. The legislature shall prescribe by general law conditions under which limited adjustments to the budget, as recommended by the governor or the chief justice of the supreme court, may be approved without the concurrence of the full legislature.
  4. SEVENTY-TWO HOUR PUBLIC REVIEW PERIOD. All general appropriation bills shall be furnished to each member of the legislature, each member of the cabinet, the governor, and the chief justice of the supreme court at least seventy-two hours before final passage by either house of the legislature of the bill in the form that will be presented to the governor.
  5. FINAL BUDGET REPORT. A final budget report shall be prepared as prescribed by general law. The final budget report shall be produced no later than the 120th day after the beginning of the fiscal year, and copies of the report shall be furnished to each member of the legislature, the head of each department and agency of the state, the auditor general, and the chief justice of the supreme court.
  6. TRUST FUNDS.
    1. No trust fund of the State of Florida or other public body may be created or re-created by law without a three-fifths vote of the membership of each house of the legislature in a separate bill for that purpose only.
    2. State trust funds shall terminate not more than four years after the effective date of the act authorizing the initial creation of the trust fund. By law the legislature may set a shorter time period for which any trust fund is authorized.
    3. Trust funds required by federal programs or mandates; trust funds established for bond covenants, indentures, or resolutions, whose revenues are legally pledged by the state or public body to meet debt service or other financial requirements of any debt obligations of the state or any public body; the state transportation trust fund; the trust fund containing the net annual proceeds from the Florida Education Lotteries; the Florida retirement trust fund; trust funds for institutions under the management of the Board of Governors, where such trust funds are for auxiliary enterprises and contracts, grants, and donations, as those terms are defined by general law; trust funds that serve as clearing funds or accounts for the chief financial officer or state agencies; trust funds that account for assets held by the state in a trustee capacity as an agent or fiduciary for individuals, private organizations, or other governmental units; and other trust funds authorized by this Constitution, are not subject to the requirements set forth in paragraph (2) of this subsection.
    4. All cash balances and income of any trust funds abolished under this subsection shall be deposited into the general revenue fund.
  7. BUDGET STABILIZATION FUND. Subject to the provisions of this subsection, an amount equal to at least 5% of the last completed fiscal year's net revenue collections for the general revenue fund shall be retained in the budget stabilization fund. The budget stabilization fund's principal balance shall not exceed an amount equal to 10% of the last completed fiscal year's net revenue collections for the general revenue fund. The legislature shall provide criteria for withdrawing funds from the budget stabilization fund in a separate bill for that purpose only and only for the purpose of covering revenue shortfalls of the general revenue fund or for the purpose of providing funding for an emergency, as defined by general law. General law shall provide for the restoration of this fund. The budget stabilization fund shall be comprised of funds not otherwise obligated or committed for any purpose.
  8. LONG-RANGE STATE PLANNING DOCUMENT AND DEPARTMENT AND AGENCY PLANNING DOCUMENT PROCESSES. General law shall provide for a long-range state planning document. The governor shall recommend to the legislature biennially any revisions to the long-range state planning document, as defined by law. General law shall require a biennial review and revision of the long-range state planning document and shall require all departments and agencies of state government to develop planning documents that identify statewide strategic goals and objectives, consistent with the long-range state planning document. The long-range state planning document and department and agency planning documents shall remain subject to review and revision by the legislature. The long-range state planning document must include projections of future needs and resources of the state which are consistent with the long-range financial outlook. The department and agency planning documents shall include a prioritized listing of planned expenditures for review and possible reduction in the event of revenue shortfalls, as defined by general law.
  9. GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY TASK FORCE. No later than January of 2007, and each fourth year thereafter, the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, the speaker of the legislature and the governor shall appoint a government efficiency task force, the membership of which shall be established by general law. The task force shall be composed of members of the legislature and representatives from the private and public sectors who shall develop recommendations for improving governmental operations and reducing costs. Staff to assist the task force in performing its duties shall be assigned by general law, and the task force may obtain assistance from the private sector. The task force shall complete its work within one year and shall submit its recommendations to the joint legislative budget commission, the governor, and the chief justice of the supreme court.
  10. JOINT LEGISLATIVE BUDGET COMMISSION. There is created within the legislature the joint legislative budget commission composed of equal numbers of senate legislature members appointed by the president of the senate and house members appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives the speaker and the minority leader of the legislature. Each member shall serve at the pleasure of the officer who appointed the member. A vacancy on the commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. From November of each odd-numbered year through October of each even-numbered year, the chairperson of the joint legislative budget commission shall be appointed by the speaker of the legislature president of the senate and the vice chairperson of the commission shall be appointed by the speaker of the house of representativesminority leader of the legislature. From November of each even-numbered year through October of each odd-numbered year, the chairperson of the joint legislative budget commission shall be appointed by the minority leader of the legislature speaker of the house of representatives and the vice chairperson of the commission shall be appointed by the president of the senatespeaker of the legislature. The joint legislative budget commission shall be governed by the joint rules of the senate and the house of representatives legislature, which shall remain in effect until repealed or amended by concurrent resolution. The commission shall convene at least quarterly and shall convene at the call of the speaker of the legislature.president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives. A majority of the commission members of each house plus one additional member from either house constitutes a quorum. Action by the commission requires a majority vote of the commission members present of each house. The commission may conduct its meetings through teleconferences or similar means. In addition to the powers and duties specified in this subsection, the joint legislative budget commission shall exercise all other powers and perform any other duties not in conflict with paragraph (c)(3) and as prescribed by general law or joint rule.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 20. Standards for establishing congressional district boundaries.

SECTION 20. Standards for establishing congressional district boundaries.

In establishing congressional district boundaries:

  1. No apportionment plan or individual district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent; and districts shall not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process or to diminish their ability to elect representatives of their choice; and districts shall consist of contiguous territory.
  2. Unless compliance with the standards in this subsection conflicts with the standards in subsection (a) or with federal law, districts shall be as nearly equal in population as is practicable; districts shall be compact; and districts shall, where feasible, utilize existing political and geographical boundaries.
  3. The order in which the standards within subsections (a) and (b) of this section are set forth shall not be read to establish any priority of one standard over the other within that subsection.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, Section 21. Standards for establishing legislative district boundaries.

SECTION 21. Standards for establishing legislative district boundaries.

In establishing legislative district boundaries:

  1. No apportionment plan or district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent; and districts shall not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process or to diminish their ability to elect representatives of their choice; and districts shall consist of contiguous territory.
  2. Unless compliance with the standards in this subsection conflicts with the standards in subsection (a) or with federal law, districts shall be as nearly equal in population as is practicable; districts shall be compact; and districts shall, where feasible, utilize existing political and geographical boundaries.
  3. The order in which the standards within subsections (a) and (b) of this section are set forth shall not be read to establish any priority of one standard over the other within that subsection.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, New Section.

Catchline: Sessions of the Legislature.

(a) ORGANIZATIONAL SESSION. On the first Monday of December following each general election, the Legislature shall convene for the exclusive purpose of organization and selection of officers.

(b) ANNUAL SESSION. An annual session of the Legislature shall convene on the first Tuesday of February of each year.

(c) SPECIAL SESSIONS.

(1) The Governor, by proclamation stating the purpose, may convene the Legislature in special session during which only such legislative business may be transacted as is within the purview of the proclamation, or of a communication from the Governor, or is introduced by consent of two-thirds of the membership of the Legislature.

(2) A special session of the Legislature may be convened as provided by law.

(d) LENGTH OF SESSIONS. A regular annual session of the Legislature shall not exceed one-hundred-twenty days, and a special session shall not exceed thirty consecutive days, unless extended beyond such limit by a three-fifths vote of the membership of the Legislature. During such an extension, no new business may be taken up in the Legislature without the consent of two-thirds of its membership.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, New Section.

Catchline: Executive approval and veto.

(a) Every bill passed by the legislature shall be presented to the Governor for approval and shall become a law if the Governor approves and signs it, or fails to veto it within seven consecutive days after presentation. If during that period or on the seventh day the Legislature adjourns sine die or takes a recess of more than thirty days, the Governor shall have fifteen consecutive days from the date of presentation to act on the bill. In all cases except general appropriation bills, the veto shall extend to the entire bill. The Governor may veto any specific appropriation in a general appropriation bill, but may not veto any qualification or restriction without also vetoing the appropriation to which it relates.

(b) When a bill or any specific appropriation of a general appropriation bill has been vetoed, the Governor shall transmit signed objections thereto to the Legislature if in session. If that Legislature is not in session, the Governor shall file them with the custodian of state records, who shall lay them before the Legislature at its next regular or special session, whichever occurs first, and they shall be entered on its journal. If the Legislature votes to re-enact a vetoed measure, whether in a regular or special session, no further consideration at any subsequent session may be taken. If a vetoed measure is presented at a special session and the Legislature does not consider it, the measure will be available for consideration at any intervening special session and until the end of the next regular session.

(c) If the Legislature shall, by a two-thirds vote, re-enact the bill or reinstate the vetoed specific appropriation of a general appropriation bill, the vote of each member voting shall be entered on the journal, and the bill shall become law or the specific appropriation reinstated, the veto notwithstanding.

ARTICLE III: LEGISLATURE, New Section.

Catchline: Legislative and congressional apportionment.

(a) LEGISLATIVE AND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS.

(1) On the first Monday of April of the first year following each decennial federal census, the reapportionment commission shall apportion the State in accordance with the Constitution of the State of Florida and of the United States into 225 representative districts and congressional districts numbered consecutively.

(2) No legislative district and no congressional district shall ever be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent; and districts shall not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process or to diminish their ability to elect legislators and representatives of their choice. The legislative districts and the congressional districts shall be as nearly equal in population as is practicable; the districts shall be compact; and the districts shall, where feasible, utilize existing political and geographical boundaries.

(b) JUDICIAL REVIEW OF APPORTIONMENT.

(1) The reapportionment commission shall, no later than the first Monday of June of the same year, submit its final plans for legislative districts and congressional districts to the College of Justice for a declaratory judgment determining the validity of the final apportionment plans. The College of Justice, in accordance with its rules, shall permit adversary interests to present their views and, within thirty days from the submission of the final apportionment plans, shall enter its judgment.

(2) The College of Justice shall consist of the chief justice of the Supreme Court, who shall act as chair, and the chief judges of each District Court of Appeal. The College of Justice shall meet at the Supreme Court in Tallahassee.

(c) EFFECT OF JUDGMENT IN APPORTIONMENT

A judgment of the College of Justice determining the apportionment to be valid shall be binding upon all the citizens of the state. Should the College of Justice determine that the final apportionment made by the reapportionment commission is invalid, the Governor by proclamation shall reconvene the reapportionment commission, and within five days thereafter shall adopt a new plan of apportionment conforming to the judgment of the College of Justice.

(d) REAPPORTIONMENT COMMISSION

(1) The reapportionment commission shall consist of 17 members as follows:

(i) five members shall be appointed by the Governor;

(ii) five members shall be appointed by the Attorney-General; and

(iii) seven retired circuit judges shall be appointed by a majority of the justices of the Supreme Court.

(2) No more than five members shall be members of the same political party. The membership of the reapportionment commission shall reflect the ethnic, cultural, and regional diversity of the state. The members shall select, from their number, one of the retired circuit judges to serve as the chair.

(3) Nine members shall constitute a quorum. Nine or more affirmative votes shall be required for any official action. The reapportionment commission shall:

(i) ensure full public participation in the reapportionment process;

(ii) conduct an open and transparent process enabling full public consideration of and comment on the drawing of district lines;

(iii) draw district lines according to the redistricting criteria specified in this Section; and

(iv) conduct themselves with integrity and fairness.

(4) The legislature shall provide the necessary funds for the reapportionment commission to carry out its duties.

 

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, Section 5. Election of governor, lieutenant governor and cabinet members; qualifications; terms.

SECTION 5.Election of governor, lieutenant governor and cabinet members; qualifications; terms.
  1. At a state-wide general election in each calendar year the number of which is even but not a multiple of four, the electors shall choose a governor and a lieutenant- governor and members of the cabinet each for a term of four years beginning on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January of the succeeding year. In primary elections, candidates for the office of governor may choose to run without a lieutenant governor candidate. In the general election, all candidates for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor shall form joint candidacies in a manner prescribed by law so that each voter shall cast a single vote for a candidate for governor and a candidate for lieutenant governor running together.
  2. When elected, the governor, lieutenant- governor and each cabinet member must be an elector not less than thirty twenty-one years of age who has resided in the state for the preceding seven years. The attorney general must have been a member of the bar of Florida for the preceding five years. No person who has, or but for resignation would have, served as governor or acting governor, lieutenant-governor, or member of the cabinet for more than six years in two consecutive terms shall be elected governor to the same office for the succeeding term.

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, Section 6. Executive departments.

SECTION 6.Executive departments.

All functions of the executive branch of state government shall be allotted among not more than twenty-five fifteen departments, exclusive of those specifically provided for or authorized in this constitution. The administration of each department, unless otherwise provided in this constitution, shall be placed by law under the direct supervision of the governor, the lieutenant- governor, the governor and cabinet, a cabinet member, or an officer or board appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the governor, except:

  1. When provided by law, confirmation by the senate legislature or the approval of three members of the cabinet shall be required for appointment to or removal from any designated statutory office.
  2. Boards authorized to grant and revoke licenses to engage in regulated occupations shall be assigned to appropriate departments and their members appointed for fixed terms, subject to removal only for cause.

 

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, Section 7. Suspensions; filling office during suspensions.

SECTION 7.Suspensions; filling office during suspensions.
  1. By executive order stating the grounds and filed with the custodian of state records, the governor may suspend from office any state officer not subject to impeachment, any officer of the militia not in the active service of the United States, or any county officer, for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony, and may fill the office by appointment for the period of suspension. The suspended officer may at any time before removal be reinstated by the governor.
  2. The senate legislature may, in proceedings prescribed by law, remove from office or reinstate the suspended official and for such purpose the senate legislature may be convened in special session by its president speaker or by a majority of its membership.
  3. By order of the governor any elected municipal officer indicted for crime may be suspended from office until acquitted and the office filled by appointment for the period of suspension, not to extend beyond the term, unless these powers are vested elsewhere by law or the municipal charter.

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, Section 8. Clemency.

SECTION 8. Clemency.
  1. Except in cases of treason and in cases where impeachment results in conviction, the governor may, by executive order filed with the custodian of state records, suspend collection of fines and forfeitures, grant reprieves not exceeding sixty days and, with the approval of two members of the cabinet, grant full or conditional pardons, restore civil rights, commute punishment, and remit fines and forfeitures for offenses.
  2. In cases of treason the governor may grant reprieves until adjournment of the regular session of the legislature convening next after the conviction, at which session the legislature may grant a pardon or further reprieve; otherwise the sentence shall be executed.
  3. There may be created by law a parole and probation commission with power to supervise persons on probation and to grant paroles or conditional releases to persons under sentences for crime. The qualifications, method of selection and terms, not to exceed six years, of members of the commission shall be prescribed by law.

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, Section 9. Fish and wildlife conservation commission.

SECTION 9. Fish and wildlife conservation commission.

There shall be a fish and wildlife conservation commission, composed of seven members appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the senate for staggered terms of five years. The commission shall exercise the regulatory and executive powers of the state with respect to wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life, and shall also exercise regulatory and executive powers of the state with respect to marine life, except that all license fees for taking wild animal life, fresh water aquatic life, and marine life and penalties for violating regulations of the commission shall be prescribed by general law. The commission shall establish procedures to ensure adequate due process in the exercise of its regulatory and executive functions. The legislature may enact laws in aid of the commission, not inconsistent with this section, except that there shall be no special law or general law of local application pertaining to hunting or fishing. The commission's exercise of executive powers in the area of planning, budgeting, personnel management, and purchasing shall be as provided by law. Revenue derived from license fees for the taking of wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life shall be appropriated to the commission by the legislature for the purposes of management, protection, and conservation of wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life. Revenue derived from license fees relating to marine life shall be appropriated by the legislature for the purposes of management, protection, and conservation of marine life as provided by law. The commission shall not be a unit of any other state agency and shall have its own staff, which includes management, research, and enforcement. Unless provided by general law, the commission shall have no authority to regulate matters relating to air and water pollution.

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, Section 11. Department of Veterans Affairs.

SECTION 11. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The legislature, by general law, may provide for the establishment of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, Section 12. Department of Elderly Affairs.

SECTION 12. Department of Elderly Affairs.

The legislature may create a Department of Elderly Affairs and prescribe its duties. The provisions governing the administration of the department must comply with Section 6 of Article IV of the State Constitution.

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, Section 13. Revenue Shortfalls.

SECTION 13.Revenue Shortfalls.

In the event of revenue shortfalls, as defined by general law, the governor and cabinet may establish all necessary reductions in the state budget in order to comply with the provisions of Article VII, Section 1(d). The governor and cabinet shall implement all necessary reductions for the executive budget, the chief justice of the supreme court shall implement all necessary reductions for the judicial budget, and the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate legislature shall implement all necessary reductions for the legislative budget. Budget reductions pursuant to this section shall be consistent with the provisions of Article III, Section 19(h).

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, New Section.

Catchline: Clemency.

(a) STATE BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLES. There shall be a state board of pardons and paroles, which shall consist of nine members as follows:

(1) three members shall be appointed by the Governor;

(2) three members shall be appointed by the Attorney-General; and

(3) three members shall be appointed by a majority of the justices of the Supreme Court.

The members of the board shall serve single nonrenewable terms of six years. No more than three members shall be members of the same political party; and no less than six members of the board shall have experience in the criminal justice system. The members of the board shall elect from their number a chairman.

(b) POWERS; DUTIES. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles shall be vested with the power of executive clemency, including the powers to grant reprieves, pardons, and paroles; to commute penalties; to remove disabilities imposed by law; and to remit any part of a sentence for any offense against the state after conviction.

(2)(i) When a sentence of death is commuted to life imprisonment, the board shall not have the authority to grant a pardon to the convicted person until such person has served at least 25 years in the penitentiary; and such person shall not become eligible for parole at any time prior to serving at least 25 years in the penitentiary.

(ii) The Legislature may by general law approved by two-thirds of the members in a roll-call vote provide for minimum mandatory sentences and for sentences which are required to be served in their entirety for persons convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, or aggravated sexual battery and, when so provided by such Act, the board shall not have the authority to consider such persons for pardon, parole, or commutation during that portion of the sentence.

(iii) The Legislature may by general law approved by two-thirds of the members in a roll-call vote provide for the imposition of sentences of life without parole for persons convicted of murder and for persons who having been previously convicted of murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, or aggravated sexual battery or having been previously convicted under the laws of any other state or of the United States of a crime which if committed in this state would be one of those offenses and who after such previous conviction subsequently commits and is convicted of one of those offenses and, when so provided by such Act, the board shall not have the authority to consider such persons for pardon, parole, or commutation from any portion of such sentence.

(iv) Any general law previously enacted by the Legislature providing for life without parole or for mandatory service of sentences without suspension, probation, or parole is hereby ratified and approved but such provisions shall be subject to amendment or repeal by general law.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph (2) of this subsection, the Legislature, by law, may prohibit the board from granting and may prescribe the terms and conditions for the board's granting a pardon or parole to:

(i) Any person incarcerated for a second or subsequent time for any offense for which such person could have been sentenced to life imprisonment; and

(ii) Any person who has received consecutive life sentences as the result of offenses occurring during the same series of acts.

(4) The chairman of the board, or any other member designated by the board, may suspend the execution of a sentence of death until the full board shall have an opportunity to hear the application of the convicted person for any relief within the power of the board.

(5) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this subsection, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles shall have the authority to pardon any person convicted of a crime who is subsequently determined to be innocent of said crime

 

ARTICLE V: JUDICIARY

SECTION 1. Courts.

The judicial power shall be vested in a supreme court, district courts of appeal, circuit courts and county courts. No other courts may be established by the state, any political subdivision or any municipality. The legislature shall, by general law, divide the state into appellate court districts and judicial circuits following county lines. Commissions established by law, or administrative officers or bodies may be granted quasi-judicial power in matters connected with the functions of their offices. The legislature may establish by general law a civil traffic hearing officer system for the purpose of hearing civil traffic infractions. The legislature may, by general law, authorize a military court-martial to be conducted by military judges of the Florida National Guard, with direct appeal of a decision to the District Court of Appeal, First District.

SECTION 2. Administration; practice and procedure.
  1. The supreme court shall adopt rules for the practice and procedure in all courts including the time for seeking appellate review, the administrative supervision of all courts, the transfer to the court having jurisdiction of any proceeding when the jurisdiction of another court has been improvidently invoked, and a requirement that no cause shall be dismissed because an improper remedy has been sought. The supreme court shall adopt rules to allow the court and the district courts of appeal to submit questions relating to military law to the federal Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for an advisory opinion. Rules of court may be repealed by general law enacted by two-thirds vote of the membership of each house of the legislature.
  2. The chief justice of the supreme court shall be chosen by a majority of the members of the court; shall be the chief administrative officer of the judicial system; and shall have the power to assign justices or judges, including consenting retired justices or judges, to temporary duty in any court for which the judge is qualified and to delegate to a chief judge of a judicial circuit the power to assign judges for duty in that circuit.
  3. A chief judge for each district court of appeal shall be chosen by a majority of the judges thereof or, if there is no majority, by the chief justice. The chief judge shall be responsible for the administrative supervision of the court.
  4. A chief judge in each circuit shall be chosen from among the circuit judges as provided by supreme court rule. The chief judge shall be responsible for the administrative supervision of the circuit courts and county courts in his circuit.
SECTION 3. Supreme court.
  1. ORGANIZATION.—The supreme court shall consist of seven justices. Of the seven justices, each appellate district shall have at least one justice elected or appointed from the district to the supreme court who is a resident of the district at the time of the original appointment or election. Five justices shall constitute a quorum. The concurrence of four justices shall be necessary to a decision. When recusals for cause would prohibit the court from convening because of the requirements of this section, judges assigned to temporary duty may be substituted for justices.
  2. JURISDICTION.—The supreme court:
    1. Shall hear appeals from final judgments of trial courts imposing the death penalty and from decisions of district courts of appeal declaring invalid a state statute or a provision of the state constitution.
    2. When provided by general law, shall hear appeals from final judgments entered in proceedings for the validation of bonds or certificates of indebtedness and shall review action of statewide agencies relating to rates or service of utilities providing electric, gas, or telephone service.
    3. May review any decision of a district court of appeal that expressly declares valid a state statute, or that expressly construes a provision of the state or federal constitution, or that expressly affects a class of constitutional or state officers, or that expressly and directly conflicts with a decision of another district court of appeal or of the supreme court on the same question of law.
    4. May review any decision of a district court of appeal that passes upon a question certified by it to be of great public importance, or that is certified by it to be in direct conflict with a decision of another district court of appeal.
    5. May review any order or judgment of a trial court certified by the district court of appeal in which an appeal is pending to be of great public importance, or to have a great effect on the proper administration of justice throughout the state, and certified to require immediate resolution by the supreme court.
    6. May review a question of law certified by the Supreme Court of the United States or a United States Court of Appeals which is determinative of the cause and for which there is no controlling precedent of the supreme court of Florida.
    7. May issue writs of prohibition to courts and all writs necessary to the complete exercise of its jurisdiction.
    8. May issue writs of mandamus and quo warranto to state officers and state agencies.
    9. May, or any justice may, issue writs of habeas corpus returnable before the supreme court or any justice, a district court of appeal or any judge thereof, or any circuit judge.
    10. Shall, when requested by the attorney general pursuant to the provisions of Section 10 of Article IV, render an advisory opinion of the justices, addressing issues as provided by general law.
  3. CLERK AND MARSHAL.—The supreme court shall appoint a clerk and a marshal who shall hold office during the pleasure of the court and perform such duties as the court directs. Their compensation shall be fixed by general law. The marshal shall have the power to execute the process of the court throughout the state, and in any county may deputize the sheriff or a deputy sheriff for such purpose.
SECTION 4. District courts of appeal.
  1. ORGANIZATION.—There shall be a district court of appeal serving each appellate district. Each district court of appeal shall consist of at least three judges. Three judges shall consider each case and the concurrence of two shall be necessary to a decision.
  2. JURISDICTION.—
    1. District courts of appeal shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals, that may be taken as a matter of right, from final judgments or orders of trial courts, including those entered on review of administrative action, not directly appealable to the supreme court or a circuit court. They may review interlocutory orders in such cases to the extent provided by rules adopted by the supreme court.
    2. District courts of appeal shall have the power of direct review of administrative action, as prescribed by general law.
    3. A district court of appeal or any judge thereof may issue writs of habeas corpus returnable before the court or any judge thereof or before any circuit judge within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. A district court of appeal may issue writs of mandamus, certiorari, prohibition, quo warranto, and other writs necessary to the complete exercise of its jurisdiction. To the extent necessary to dispose of all issues in a cause properly before it, a district court of appeal may exercise any of the appellate jurisdiction of the circuit courts.
  3. CLERKS AND MARSHALS.—Each district court of appeal shall appoint a clerk and a marshal who shall hold office during the pleasure of the court and perform such duties as the court directs. Their compensation shall be fixed by general law. The marshal shall have the power to execute the process of the court throughout the territorial jurisdiction of the court, and in any county may deputize the sheriff or a deputy sheriff for such purpose.
SECTION 5. Circuit courts.
  1. ORGANIZATION.—There shall be a circuit court serving each judicial circuit.
  2. JURISDICTION.—The circuit courts shall have original jurisdiction not vested in the county courts, and jurisdiction of appeals when provided by general law. They shall have the power to issue writs of mandamus, quo warranto, certiorari, prohibition and habeas corpus, and all writs necessary or proper to the complete exercise of their jurisdiction. Jurisdiction of the circuit court shall be uniform throughout the state. They shall have the power of direct review of administrative action prescribed by general law.
SECTION 6. County courts.
  1. ORGANIZATION.—There shall be a county court in each county. There shall be one or more judges for each county court as prescribed by general law.
  2. JURISDICTION.—The county courts shall exercise the jurisdiction prescribed by general law. Such jurisdiction shall be uniform throughout the state.
SECTION 7. Specialized divisions.

All courts except the supreme court may sit in divisions as may be established by general law. A circuit or county court may hold civil and criminal trials and hearings in any place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court as designated by the chief judge of the circuit.

SECTION 8. Eligibility.

No person shall be eligible for office of justice or judge of any court unless the person is an elector of the state and resides in the territorial jurisdiction of the court. No justice or judge shall serve after attaining the age of seventy years except upon temporary assignment or to complete a term, one-half of which has been served. No person is eligible for the office of justice of the supreme court or judge of a district court of appeal unless the person is, and has been for the preceding ten years, a member of the bar of Florida. No person is eligible for the office of circuit judge unless the person is, and has been for the preceding five years, a member of the bar of Florida. Unless otherwise provided by general law, no person is eligible for the office of county court judge unless the person is, and has been for the preceding five years, a member of the bar of Florida. Unless otherwise provided by general law, a person shall be eligible for election or appointment to the office of county court judge in a county having a population of 40,000 or less if the person is a member in good standing of the bar of Florida.

SECTION 9. Determination of number of judges.

The supreme court shall establish by rule uniform criteria for the determination of the need for additional judges except supreme court justices, the necessity for decreasing the number of judges and for increasing, decreasing or redefining appellate districts and judicial circuits. If the supreme court finds that a need exists for increasing or decreasing the number of judges or increasing, decreasing or redefining appellate districts and judicial circuits, it shall, prior to the next regular session of the legislature, certify to the legislature its findings and recommendations concerning such need. Upon receipt of such certificate, the legislature, at the next regular session, shall consider the findings and recommendations and may reject the recommendations or by law implement the recommendations in whole or in part; provided the legislature may create more judicial offices than are recommended by the supreme court or may decrease the number of judicial offices by a greater number than recommended by the court only upon a finding of two-thirds of the membership of both houses of the legislature, that such a need exists. A decrease in the number of judges shall be effective only after the expiration of a term. If the supreme court fails to make findings as provided above when need exists, the legislature may by concurrent resolution request the court to certify its findings and recommendations and upon the failure of the court to certify its findings for nine consecutive months, the legislature may, upon a finding of two-thirds of the membership of both houses of the legislature that a need exists, increase or decrease the number of judges or increase, decrease or redefine appellate districts and judicial circuits.

SECTION 10. Retention; election and terms.
  1. Any justice or judge may qualify for retention by a vote of the electors in the general election next preceding the expiration of the justice's or judge's term in the manner prescribed by law. If a justice or judge is ineligible or fails to qualify for retention, a vacancy shall exist in that office upon the expiration of the term being served by the justice or judge. When a justice or judge so qualifies, the ballot shall read substantially as follows: "Shall Justice (or Judge) [name of justice or judge] of the [name of the court] be retained in office?" If a majority of the qualified electors voting within the territorial jurisdiction of the court vote to retain, the justice or judge shall be retained for a term of six years. The term of the justice or judge retained shall commence on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January following the general election. If a majority of the qualified electors voting within the territorial jurisdiction of the court vote to not retain, a vacancy shall exist in that office upon the expiration of the term being served by the justice or judge.
    1. The election of circuit judges shall be preserved notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) unless a majority of those voting in the jurisdiction of that circuit approves a local option to select circuit judges by merit selection and retention rather than by election. The election of circuit judges shall be by a vote of the qualified electors within the territorial jurisdiction of the court.
    2. The election of county court judges shall be preserved notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) unless a majority of those voting in the jurisdiction of that county approves a local option to select county judges by merit selection and retention rather than by election. The election of county court judges shall be by a vote of the qualified electors within the territorial jurisdiction of the court.
      1. A vote to exercise a local option to select circuit court judges and county court judges by merit selection and retention rather than by election shall be held in each circuit and county at the general election in the year 2000. If a vote to exercise this local option fails in a vote of the electors, such option shall not again be put to a vote of the electors of that jurisdiction until the expiration of at least two years.
      2. After the year 2000, a circuit may initiate the local option for merit selection and retention or the election of circuit judges, whichever is applicable, by filing with the custodian of state records a petition signed by the number of electors equal to at least ten percent of the votes cast in the circuit in the last preceding election in which presidential electors were chosen.
      3. After the year 2000, a county may initiate the local option for merit selection and retention or the election of county court judges, whichever is applicable, by filing with the supervisor of elections a petition signed by the number of electors equal to at least ten percent of the votes cast in the county in the last preceding election in which presidential electors were chosen. The terms of circuit judges and judges of county courts shall be for six years.
SECTION 11. Vacancies.
  1. Whenever a vacancy occurs in a judicial office to which election for retention applies, the governor shall fill the vacancy by appointing for a term ending on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January of the year following the next general election occurring at least one year after the date of appointment, one of not fewer than three persons nor more than six persons nominated by the appropriate judicial nominating commission.
  2. The governor shall fill each vacancy on a circuit court or on a county court, wherein the judges are elected by a majority vote of the electors, by appointing for a term ending on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January of the year following the next primary and general election occurring at least one year after the date of appointment, one of not fewer than three persons nor more than six persons nominated by the appropriate judicial nominating commission. An election shall be held to fill that judicial office for the term of the office beginning at the end of the appointed term.
  3. The nominations shall be made within thirty days from the occurrence of a vacancy unless the period is extended by the governor for a time not to exceed thirty days. The governor shall make the appointment within sixty days after the nominations have been certified to the governor.
  4. There shall be a separate judicial nominating commission as provided by general law for the supreme court, each district court of appeal, and each judicial circuit for all trial courts within the circuit. Uniform rules of procedure shall be established by the judicial nominating commissions at each level of the court system. Such rules, or any part thereof, may be repealed by general law enacted by a majority vote of the membership of each house of the legislature, or by the supreme court, five justices concurring. Except for deliberations of the judicial nominating commissions, the proceedings of the commissions and their records shall be open to the public.
SECTION 12. Discipline; removal and retirement.
  1. JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION.—A judicial qualifications commission is created.
    1. There shall be a judicial qualifications commission vested with jurisdiction to investigate and recommend to the Supreme Court of Florida the removal from office of any justice or judge whose conduct, during term of office or otherwise occurring on or after November 1, 1966, (without regard to the effective date of this section) demonstrates a present unfitness to hold office, and to investigate and recommend the discipline of a justice or judge whose conduct, during term of office or otherwise occurring on or after November 1, 1966 (without regard to the effective date of this section), warrants such discipline. For purposes of this section, discipline is defined as any or all of the following: reprimand, fine, suspension with or without pay, or lawyer discipline. The commission shall have jurisdiction over justices and judges regarding allegations that misconduct occurred before or during service as a justice or judge if a complaint is made no later than one year following service as a justice or judge. The commission shall have jurisdiction regarding allegations of incapacity during service as a justice or judge. The commission shall be composed of:
      1. Two judges of district courts of appeal selected by the judges of those courts, two circuit judges selected by the judges of the circuit courts and two judges of county courts selected by the judges of those courts;
      2. Four electors who reside in the state, who are members of the bar of Florida, and who shall be chosen by the governing body of the bar of Florida; and
      3. Five electors who reside in the state, who have never held judicial office or been members of the bar of Florida, and who shall be appointed by the governor.
    2. The members of the judicial qualifications commission shall serve staggered terms, not to exceed six years, as prescribed by general law. No member of the commission except a judge shall be eligible for state judicial office while acting as a member of the commission and for a period of two years thereafter. No member of the commission shall hold office in a political party or participate in any campaign for judicial office or hold public office; provided that a judge may campaign for judicial office and hold that office. The commission shall elect one of its members as its chairperson.
    3. Members of the judicial qualifications commission not subject to impeachment shall be subject to removal from the commission pursuant to the provisions of Article IV, Section 7, Florida Constitution.
    4. The commission shall adopt rules regulating its proceedings, the filling of vacancies by the appointing authorities, the disqualification of members, the rotation of members between the panels, and the temporary replacement of disqualified or incapacitated members. The commission's rules, or any part thereof, may be repealed by general law enacted by a majority vote of the membership of each house of the legislature, or by the supreme court, five justices concurring. The commission shall have power to issue subpoenas. Until formal charges against a justice or judge are filed by the investigative panel with the clerk of the supreme court of Florida all proceedings by or before the commission shall be confidential; provided, however, upon a finding of probable cause and the filing by the investigative panel with said clerk of such formal charges against a justice or judge such charges and all further proceedings before the commission shall be public.
    5. The commission shall have access to all information from all executive, legislative and judicial agencies, including grand juries, subject to the rules of the commission. At any time, on request of the speaker of the house of representatives or the governor, the commission shall make available all information in the possession of the commission for use in consideration of impeachment or suspension, respectively.
  2. PANELS.—The commission shall be divided into an investigative panel and a hearing panel as established by rule of the commission. The investigative panel is vested with the jurisdiction to receive or initiate complaints, conduct investigations, dismiss complaints, and upon a vote of a simple majority of the panel submit formal charges to the hearing panel. The hearing panel is vested with the authority to receive and hear formal charges from the investigative panel and upon a two-thirds vote of the panel recommend to the supreme court the removal of a justice or judge or the involuntary retirement of a justice or judge for any permanent disability that seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties. Upon a simple majority vote of the membership of the hearing panel, the panel may recommend to the supreme court that the justice or judge be subject to appropriate discipline.
  3. SUPREME COURT.—The supreme court shall receive recommendations from the judicial qualifications commission's hearing panel.
    1. The supreme court may accept, reject, or modify in whole or in part the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the commission and it may order that the justice or judge be subjected to appropriate discipline, or be removed from office with termination of compensation for willful or persistent failure to perform judicial duties or for other conduct unbecoming a member of the judiciary demonstrating a present unfitness to hold office, or be involuntarily retired for any permanent disability that seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties. Malafides, scienter or moral turpitude on the part of a justice or judge shall not be required for removal from office of a justice or judge whose conduct demonstrates a present unfitness to hold office. After the filing of a formal proceeding and upon request of the investigative panel, the supreme court may suspend the justice or judge from office, with or without compensation, pending final determination of the inquiry.
    2. The supreme court may award costs to the prevailing party.
  4. The power of removal conferred by this section shall be both alternative and cumulative to the power of impeachment.
  5. Notwithstanding any of the foregoing provisions of this section, if the person who is the subject of proceedings by the judicial qualifications commission is a justice of the supreme court of Florida all justices of such court automatically shall be disqualified to sit as justices of such court with respect to all proceedings therein concerning such person and the supreme court for such purposes shall be composed of a panel consisting of the seven chief judges of the judicial circuits of the state of Florida most senior in tenure of judicial office as circuit judge. For purposes of determining seniority of such circuit judges in the event there be judges of equal tenure in judicial office as circuit judge the judge or judges from the lower numbered circuit or circuits shall be deemed senior. In the event any such chief circuit judge is under investigation by the judicial qualifications commission or is otherwise disqualified or unable to serve on the panel, the next most senior chief circuit judge or judges shall serve in place of such disqualified or disabled chief circuit judge.
  6. SCHEDULE TO SECTION 12.—
    1. Except to the extent inconsistent with the provisions of this section, all provisions of law and rules of court in force on the effective date of this article shall continue in effect until superseded in the manner authorized by the constitution.
    2. After this section becomes effective and until adopted by rule of the commission consistent with it:
      1. The commission shall be divided, as determined by the chairperson, into one investigative panel and one hearing panel to meet the responsibilities set forth in this section.
      2. The investigative panel shall be composed of:
        1. Four judges,
        2. Two members of the bar of Florida, and
        3. Three non-lawyers.
      3. The hearing panel shall be composed of:
        1. Two judges,
        2. Two members of the bar of Florida, and
        3. Two non-lawyers.
      4. Membership on the panels may rotate in a manner determined by the rules of the commission provided that no member shall vote as a member of the investigative and hearing panel on the same proceeding.
      5. The commission shall hire separate staff for each panel.
      6. The members of the commission shall serve for staggered terms of six years.
      7. The terms of office of the present members of the judicial qualifications commission shall expire upon the effective date of the amendments to this section approved by the legislature during the regular session of the legislature in 1996 and new members shall be appointed to serve the following staggered terms:
        1. Group I.—The terms of five members, composed of two electors as set forth in s. 12(a)(1)c. of Article V, one member of the bar of Florida as set forth in s. 12(a)(1)b. of Article V, one judge from the district courts of appeal and one circuit judge as set forth in s. 12(a)(1)a. of Article V, shall expire on December 31, 1998.
        2. Group II.—The terms of five members, composed of one elector as set forth in s. 12(a)(1)c. of Article V, two members of the bar of Florida as set forth in s. 12(a)(1)b. of Article V, one circuit judge and one county judge as set forth in s. 12(a)(1)a. of Article V shall expire on December 31, 2000.
        3. Group III.—The terms of five members, composed of two electors as set forth in s. 12(a)(1)c. of Article V, one member of the bar of Florida as set forth in s. 12(a)(1)b., one judge from the district courts of appeal and one county judge as set forth in s. 12(a)(1)a. of Article V, shall expire on December 31, 2002.
      8. An appointment to fill a vacancy of the commission shall be for the remainder of the term.
      9. Selection of members by district courts of appeal judges, circuit judges, and county court judges, shall be by no less than a majority of the members voting at the respective courts' conferences. Selection of members by the board of governors of the bar of Florida shall be by no less than a majority of the board.
      10. The commission shall be entitled to recover the costs of investigation and prosecution, in addition to any penalty levied by the supreme court.
      11. The compensation of members and referees shall be the travel expenses or transportation and per diem allowance as provided by general law.
SECTION 13. Prohibited activities.

All justices and judges shall devote full time to their judicial duties. They shall not engage in the practice of law or hold office in any political party.

SECTION 14. Funding.
  1. All justices and judges shall be compensated only by state salaries fixed by general law. Funding for the state courts system, state attorneys' offices, public defenders' offices, and court-appointed counsel, except as otherwise provided in subsection (c), shall be provided from state revenues appropriated by general law.
  2. All funding for the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts performing court-related functions, except as otherwise provided in this subsection and subsection (c), shall be provided by adequate and appropriate filing fees for judicial proceedings and service charges and costs for performing court-related functions as required by general law. Selected salaries, costs, and expenses of the state courts system may be funded from appropriate filing fees for judicial proceedings and service charges and costs for performing court-related functions, as provided by general law. Where the requirements of either the United States Constitution or the Constitution of the State of Florida preclude the imposition of filing fees for judicial proceedings and service charges and costs for performing court-related functions sufficient to fund the court-related functions of the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts, the state shall provide, as determined by the legislature, adequate and appropriate supplemental funding from state revenues appropriated by general law.
  3. No county or municipality, except as provided in this subsection, shall be required to provide any funding for the state courts system, state attorneys' offices, public defenders' offices, court-appointed counsel or the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts performing court-related functions. Counties shall be required to fund the cost of communications services, existing radio systems, existing multi-agency criminal justice information systems, and the cost of construction or lease, maintenance, utilities, and security of facilities for the trial courts, public defenders' offices, state attorneys' offices, and the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts performing court-related functions. Counties shall also pay reasonable and necessary salaries, costs, and expenses of the state courts system to meet local requirements as determined by general law.
  4. The judiciary shall have no power to fix appropriations.
SECTION 15. Attorneys; admission and discipline.

The supreme court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the admission of persons to the practice of law and the discipline of persons admitted.

SECTION 16. Clerks of the circuit courts.

There shall be in each county a clerk of the circuit court who shall be selected pursuant to the provisions of Article VIII section 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of the constitution, the duties of the clerk of the circuit court may be divided by special or general law between two officers, one serving as clerk of court and one serving as ex officio clerk of the board of county commissioners, auditor, recorder, and custodian of all county funds. There may be a clerk of the county court if authorized by general or special law.

SECTION 17. State attorneys.

In each judicial circuit a state attorney shall be elected for a term of four years. Except as otherwise provided in this constitution, the state attorney shall be the prosecuting officer of all trial courts in that circuit and shall perform other duties prescribed by general law; provided, however, when authorized by general law, the violations of all municipal ordinances may be prosecuted by municipal prosecutors. A state attorney shall be an elector of the state and reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the circuit; shall be and have been a member of the bar of Florida for the preceding five years; shall devote full time to the duties of the office; and shall not engage in the private practice of law. State attorneys shall appoint such assistant state attorneys as may be authorized by law.

SECTION 18. Public defenders.

In each judicial circuit a public defender shall be elected for a term of four years, who shall perform duties prescribed by general law. A public defender shall be an elector of the state and reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the circuit and shall be and have been a member of the Bar of Florida for the preceding five years. Public defenders shall appoint such assistant public defenders as may be authorized by law.

SECTION 19. Judicial officers as conservators of the peace.

All judicial officers in this state shall be conservators of the peace.

SECTION 20. Schedule to Article V.
  1. This article shall replace all of Article V of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, which shall then stand repealed.
  2. Except to the extent inconsistent with the provisions of this article, all provisions of law and rules of court in force on the effective date of this article shall continue in effect until superseded in the manner authorized by the constitution.
  3. After this article becomes effective, and until changed by general law consistent with sections 1 through 19 of this article:
    1. The supreme court shall have the jurisdiction immediately theretofore exercised by it, and it shall determine all proceedings pending before it on the effective date of this article.
    2. The appellate districts shall be those in existence on the date of adoption of this article. There shall be a district court of appeal in each district. The district courts of appeal shall have the jurisdiction immediately theretofore exercised by the district courts of appeal and shall determine all proceedings pending before them on the effective date of this article.
    3. Circuit courts shall have jurisdiction of appeals from county courts and municipal courts, except those appeals which may be taken directly to the supreme court; and they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in all actions at law not cognizable by the county courts; of proceedings relating to the settlement of the estate of decedents and minors, the granting of letters testamentary, guardianship, involuntary hospitalization, the determination of incompetency, and other jurisdiction usually pertaining to courts of probate; in all cases in equity including all cases relating to juveniles; of all felonies and of all misdemeanors arising out of the same circumstances as a felony which is also charged; in all cases involving legality of any tax assessment or toll; in the action of ejectment; and in all actions involving the titles or boundaries or right of possession of real property. The circuit court may issue injunctions. There shall be judicial circuits which shall be the judicial circuits in existence on the date of adoption of this article. The chief judge of a circuit may authorize a county court judge to order emergency hospitalizations pursuant to Chapter 71-131, Laws of Florida, in the absence from the county of the circuit judge and the county court judge shall have the power to issue all temporary orders and temporary injunctions necessary or proper to the complete exercise of such jurisdiction.
    4. County courts shall have original jurisdiction in all criminal misdemeanor cases not cognizable by the circuit courts, of all violations of municipal and county ordinances, and of all actions at law in which the matter in controversy does not exceed the sum of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00) exclusive of interest and costs, except those within the exclusive jurisdiction of the circuit courts. Judges of county courts shall be committing magistrates. The county courts shall have jurisdiction now exercised by the county judge's courts other than that vested in the circuit court by subsection (c)(3) hereof, the jurisdiction now exercised by the county courts, the claims court, the small claims courts, the small claims magistrates courts, magistrates courts, justice of the peace courts, municipal courts and courts of chartered counties, including but not limited to the counties referred to in Article VIII, sections 9, 10, 11 and 24 of the Constitution of 1885.
    5. Each judicial nominating commission shall be composed of the following:
      1. Three members appointed by the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar from among The Florida Bar members who are actively engaged in the practice of law with offices within the territorial jurisdiction of the affected court, district or circuit;
      2. Three electors who reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the court or circuit appointed by the governor; and
      3. Three electors who reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the court or circuit and who are not members of the bar of Florida, selected and appointed by a majority vote of the other six members of the commission.
    6. No justice or judge shall be a member of a judicial nominating commission. A member of a judicial nominating commission may hold public office other than judicial office. No member shall be eligible for appointment to state judicial office so long as that person is a member of a judicial nominating commission and for a period of two years thereafter. All acts of a judicial nominating commission shall be made with a concurrence of a majority of its members.
    7. The members of a judicial nominating commission shall serve for a term of four years except the terms of the initial members of the judicial nominating commissions shall expire as follows:
      1. The terms of one member of category a. b. and c. in subsection (c)(5) hereof shall expire on July 1, 1974;
      2. The terms of one member of category a. b. and c. in subsection (c)(5) hereof shall expire on July 1, 1975;
      3. The terms of one member of category a. b. and c. in subsection (c)(5) hereof shall expire on July 1, 1976;
    8. All fines and forfeitures arising from offenses tried in the county court shall be collected, and accounted for by clerk of the court, and deposited in a special trust account. All fines and forfeitures received from violations of ordinances or misdemeanors committed within a county or municipal ordinances committed within a municipality within the territorial jurisdiction of the county court shall be paid monthly to the county or municipality respectively. If any costs are assessed and collected in connection with offenses tried in county court, all court costs shall be paid into the general revenue fund of the state of Florida and such other funds as prescribed by general law.
    9. Any municipality or county may apply to the chief judge of the circuit in which that municipality or county is situated for the county court to sit in a location suitable to the municipality or county and convenient in time and place to its citizens and police officers and upon such application said chief judge shall direct the court to sit in the location unless the chief judge shall determine the request is not justified. If the chief judge does not authorize the county court to sit in the location requested, the county or municipality may apply to the supreme court for an order directing the county court to sit in the location. Any municipality or county which so applies shall be required to provide the appropriate physical facilities in which the county court may hold court.
    10. All courts except the supreme court may sit in divisions as may be established by local rule approved by the supreme court.
    11. A county court judge in any county having a population of 40,000 or less according to the last decennial census, shall not be required to be a member of the bar of Florida.
    12. Municipal prosecutors may prosecute violations of municipal ordinances.
    13. Justice shall mean a justice elected or appointed to the supreme court and shall not include any judge assigned from any court.
  4. When this article becomes effective:
    1. All courts not herein authorized, except as provided by subsection (d)(4) of this section shall cease to exist and jurisdiction to conclude all pending cases and enforce all prior orders and judgments shall vest in the court that would have jurisdiction of the cause if thereafter instituted. All records of and property held by courts abolished hereby shall be transferred to the proper office of the appropriate court under this article.
    2. Judges of the following courts, if their terms do not expire in 1973 and if they are eligible under subsection (d)(8) hereof, shall become additional judges of the circuit court for each of the counties of their respective circuits, and shall serve as such circuit judges for the remainder of the terms to which they were elected and shall be eligible for election as circuit judges thereafter. These courts are: civil court of record of Dade county, all criminal courts of record, the felony courts of record of Alachua, Leon and Volusia Counties, the courts of record of Broward, Brevard, Escambia, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota Counties, the civil and criminal court of record of Pinellas County, and county judge's courts and separate juvenile courts in counties having a population in excess of 100,000 according to the 1970 federal census. On the effective date of this article, there shall be an additional number of positions of circuit judges equal to the number of existing circuit judges and the number of judges of the above named courts whose term expires in 1973. Elections to such offices shall take place at the same time and manner as elections to other state judicial offices in 1972 and the terms of such offices shall be for a term of six years. Unless changed pursuant to section nine of this article, the number of circuit judges presently existing and created by this subsection shall not be changed.
    3. In all counties having a population of less than 100,000 according to the 1970 federal census and having more than one county judge on the date of the adoption of this article, there shall be the same number of judges of the county court as there are county judges existing on that date unless changed pursuant to section 9 of this article.
    4. Municipal courts shall continue with their same jurisdiction until amended or terminated in a manner prescribed by special or general law or ordinances, or until January 3, 1977, whichever occurs first. On that date all municipal courts not previously abolished shall cease to exist. Judges of municipal courts shall remain in office and be subject to reappointment or reelection in the manner prescribed by law until said courts are terminated pursuant to the provisions of this subsection. Upon municipal courts being terminated or abolished in accordance with the provisions of this subsection, the judges thereof who are not members of the bar of Florida, shall be eligible to seek election as judges of county courts of their respective counties.
    5. Judges, holding elective office in all other courts abolished by this article, whose terms do not expire in 1973 including judges established pursuant to Article VIII, sections 9 and 11 of the Constitution of 1885 shall serve as judges of the county court for the remainder of the term to which they were elected. Unless created pursuant to section 9, of this Article V such judicial office shall not continue to exist thereafter.
    6. By March 21, 1972, the supreme court shall certify the need for additional circuit and county judges. The legislature in the 1972 regular session may by general law create additional offices of judge, the terms of which shall begin on the effective date of this article. Elections to such offices shall take place at the same time and manner as election to other state judicial offices in 1972.
    7. County judges of existing county judge's courts and justices of the peace and magistrates' court who are not members of bar of Florida shall be eligible to seek election as county court judges of their respective counties.
    8. No judge of a court abolished by this article shall become or be eligible to become a judge of the circuit court unless the judge has been a member of bar of Florida for the preceding five years.
    9. The office of judges of all other courts abolished by this article shall be abolished as of the effective date of this article.
    10. The offices of county solicitor and prosecuting attorney shall stand abolished, and all county solicitors and prosecuting attorneys holding such offices upon the effective date of this article shall become and serve as assistant state attorneys for the circuits in which their counties are situate for the remainder of their terms, with compensation not less than that received immediately before the effective date of this article.
  5. LIMITED OPERATION OF SOME PROVISIONS.—
    1. All justices of the supreme court, judges of the district courts of appeal and circuit judges in office upon the effective date of this article shall retain their offices for the remainder of their respective terms. All members of the judicial qualifications commission in office upon the effective date of this article shall retain their offices for the remainder of their respective terms. Each state attorney in office on the effective date of this article shall retain the office for the remainder of the term.
    2. No justice or judge holding office immediately after this article becomes effective who held judicial office on July 1, 1957, shall be subject to retirement from judicial office because of age pursuant to section 8 of this article.
  6. Until otherwise provided by law, the nonjudicial duties required of county judges shall be performed by the judges of the county court.
  7. All provisions of Article V of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, not embraced herein which are not inconsistent with this revision shall become statutes subject to modification or repeal as are other statutes.
  8. The requirements of section 14 relative to all county court judges or any judge of a municipal court who continues to hold office pursuant to subsection (d)(4) hereof being compensated by state salaries shall not apply prior to January 3, 1977, unless otherwise provided by general law.
  9. DELETION OF OBSOLETE SCHEDULE ITEMS.—The legislature shall have power, by concurrent resolution, to delete from this article any subsection of this section 20 including this subsection, when all events to which the subsection to be deleted is or could become applicable have occurred. A legislative determination of fact made as a basis for application of this subsection shall be subject to judicial review.
  10. EFFECTIVE DATE.—Unless otherwise provided herein, this article shall become effective at 11:59 o'clock P.M., Eastern Standard Time, January 1, 1973.

ARTICLE VI: SUFFRAGE AND ELECTIONS

SECTION 1. Regulation of elections.

All elections by the people shall be by direct and secret vote. General elections shall be determined by a plurality of votes cast. Registration and elections shall, and political party functions may, be regulated by law; however, the requirements for a candidate with no party affiliation or for a candidate of a minor party for placement of the candidate's name on the ballot shall be no greater than the requirements for a candidate of the party having the largest number of registered voters.

SECTION 2. Electors.

Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.

SECTION 3. Oath.

Each eligible citizen upon registering shall subscribe the following: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida, and that I am qualified to register as an elector under the Constitution and laws of the State of Florida."

SECTION 4. Disqualifications.
  1. No person convicted of a felony, or adjudicated in this or any other state to be mentally incompetent, shall be qualified to vote or hold office until restoration of civil rights or removal of disability.
  2. No person may appear on the ballot for re-election to any of the following offices:
    1. Florida representative,
    2. Florida senator,
    3. Florida Lieutenant governor,
    4. any office of the Florida cabinet,
    5. U.S. Representative from Florida, or
    6. U.S. Senator from Florida

    if, by the end of the current term of office, the person will have served (or, but for resignation, would have served) in that office for eight consecutive years.
SECTION 5. Primary, general, and special elections.
  1. A general election shall be held in each county on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year to choose a successor to each elective state and county officer whose term will expire before the next general election and, except as provided herein, to fill each vacancy in elective office for the unexpired portion of the term. A general election may be suspended or delayed due to a state of emergency or impending emergency pursuant to general law. Special elections and referenda shall be held as provided by law.
  2. If all candidates for an office have the same party affiliation and the winner will have no opposition in the general election, all qualified electors, regardless of party affiliation, may vote in the primary elections for that office.
SECTION 6. Municipal and district elections.

Registration and elections in municipalities shall, and in other governmental entities created by statute may, be provided by law.

SECTION 7. Campaign spending limits and funding of campaigns for elective state-wide office.

It is the policy of this state to provide for state-wide elections in which all qualified candidates may compete effectively. A method of public financing for campaigns for state-wide office shall be established by law. Spending limits shall be established for such campaigns for candidates who use public funds in their campaigns. The legislature shall provide funding for this provision. General law implementing this paragraph shall be at least as protective of effective competition by a candidate who uses public funds as the general law in effect on January 1, 1998.

ARTICLE VII: FINANCE AND TAXATION, Section 1. Taxation; appropriations; state expenses; state revenue limitation.

SECTION 1.Taxation; appropriations; state expenses; state revenue limitation.
  1. No tax shall be levied except in pursuance of law. No state ad valorem taxes shall be levied upon real estate or tangible personal property. All other forms of taxation shall be preempted to the state except as provided by general law.
  2. Motor vehicles, boats, airplanes, trailers, trailer coaches and mobile homes, as defined by law, shall be subject to a license tax for their operation in the amounts and for the purposes prescribed by law, but shall not be subject to ad valorem taxes.
  3. No money shall be drawn from the treasury except in pursuance of appropriation made by law.
  4. Provision shall be made by law for raising sufficient revenue to defray the expenses of the state for each fiscal period.
  5. Except as provided herein, state revenues collected for any fiscal year shall be limited to state revenues allowed under this subsection for the prior fiscal year plus an adjustment for growth. As used in this subsection, "growth" means an amount equal to the average annual rate of growth in Florida personal income over the most recent twenty quarters times the state revenues allowed under this subsection for the prior fiscal year. For the 1995-1996 fiscal year, the state revenues allowed under this subsection for the prior fiscal year shall equal the state revenues collected for the 1994-1995 fiscal year. Florida personal income shall be determined by the legislature, from information available from the United States Department of Commerce or its successor on the first day of February prior to the beginning of the fiscal year. State revenues collected for any fiscal year in excess of this limitation shall be transferred to the budget stabilization fund until the fund reaches the maximum balance specified in Section 19(g) of Article III, and thereafter shall be refunded to taxpayers as provided by general law. State revenues allowed under this subsection for any fiscal year may be increased by a two-thirds vote of the membership of each house of the legislature in a separate bill that contains no other subject and that sets forth the dollar amount by which the state revenues allowed will be increased. The vote may not be taken less than seventy-two hours after the third reading of the bill. For purposes of this subsection, "state revenues" means taxes, fees, licenses, and charges for services imposed by the legislature on individuals, businesses, or agencies outside state government. However, "state revenues" does not include: revenues that are necessary to meet the requirements set forth in documents authorizing the issuance of bonds by the state; revenues that are used to provide matching funds for the federal Medicaid program with the exception of the revenues used to support the Public Medical Assistance Trust Fund or its successor program and with the exception of state matching funds used to fund elective expansions made after July 1, 1994; proceeds from the state lottery returned as prizes; receipts of the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund; balances carried forward from prior fiscal years; taxes, licenses, fees, and charges for services imposed by local, regional, or school district governing bodies; or revenue from taxes, licenses, fees, and charges for services required to be imposed by any amendment or revision to this constitution after July 1, 1994. An adjustment to the revenue limitation shall be made by general law to reflect the fiscal impact of transfers of responsibility for the funding of governmental functions between the state and other levels of government. The legislature shall, by general law, prescribe procedures necessary to administer this subsection.

ARTICLE VII: FINANCE AND TAXATION, Section 3. Taxes; exemptions.

SECTION 3.Taxes; exemptions.
  1. All property owned by a municipality and used exclusively by it for municipal or public purposes shall be exempt from taxation. A municipality, owning property outside the municipality, may be required by general law to make payment to the taxing unit in which the property is located. Such portions of property as are used predominantly for educational, literary, scientific, religious or charitable purposes may be exempted by general law from taxation.
  2. There shall be exempt from taxation, cumulatively, to every head of a family residing in this state, household goods and personal effects to the value fixed by general law, not less than one thousand dollars$1,000, and to every widow or widower or person who is blind or totally and permanently disabled, property to the value fixed by general law not less than five hundred dollars$500.
  3. Any county or municipality may, for the purpose of its respective tax levy and subject to the provisions of this subsection and general law, grant community and economic development ad valorem tax exemptions to new businesses and expansions of existing businesses, as defined by general law. Such an exemption may be granted only by ordinance of the county or municipality, and only after the electors of the county or municipality voting on such question in a referendum authorize the county or municipality to adopt such ordinances. An exemption so granted shall apply to improvements to real property made by or for the use of a new business and improvements to real property related to the expansion of an existing business and shall also apply to tangible personal property of such new business and tangible personal property related to the expansion of an existing business. The amount or limits of the amount of such exemption shall be specified by general law. The period of time for which such exemption may be granted to a new business or expansion of an existing business shall be determined by general law. The authority to grant such exemption shall expire ten years from the date of approval by the electors of the county or municipality, and may be renewable by referendum as provided by general law.
  4. Any county or municipality may, for the purpose of its respective tax levy and subject to the provisions of this subsection and general law, grant historic preservation ad valorem tax exemptions to owners of historic properties. This exemption may be granted only by ordinance of the county or municipality. The amount or limits of the amount of this exemption and the requirements for eligible properties must be specified by general law. The period of time for which this exemption may be granted to a property owner shall be determined by general law.
  5. By general law and subject to conditions specified therein, twenty-five thousand dollars $25,000 of the assessed value of property subject to tangible personal property tax shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation.
  6. There shall be granted an ad valorem tax exemption for real property dedicated in perpetuity for conservation purposes, including real property encumbered by perpetual conservation easements or by other perpetual conservation protections, as defined by general law.
  7. By general law and subject to the conditions specified therein, each person who receives a homestead exemption as provided in section 6 of this article; who was a member of the United States military or military reserves, the United States Coast Guard or its reserves, or the Florida National Guard; and who was deployed during the preceding calendar year on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii in support of military operations designated by the legislature shall receive an additional exemption equal to a percentage of the taxable value of his or her homestead property. The applicable percentage shall be calculated as the number of days during the preceding calendar year the person was deployed on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii in support of military operations designated by the legislature divided by the number of days in that year.

ARTICLE VII: FINANCE AND TAXATION, Section 5. Estate, inheritance and income taxes.

SECTION 5.

Estate, inheritance and income taxes prohibited.

  1. NATURAL PERSONS. No tax upon estates or inheritances or upon the income of natural persons who are residents or citizens of the state shall be levied by the state., or under its authority, in excess of the aggregate of amounts which may be allowed to be credited upon or deducted from any similar tax levied by the United States or any state.
  2. OTHERS. No tax upon the income of residents and citizens other than natural persons shall be levied by the state, or under its authority., in excess of 5% of net income, as defined by law, or at such greater rate as is authorized by a three-fifths (3/5) vote of the membership of each house of the legislature or as will provide for the state the maximum amount which may be allowed to be credited against income taxes levied by the United States and other states. There shall be exempt from taxation not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) of the excess of net income subject to tax over the maximum amount allowed to be credited against income taxes levied by the United States and other states.
  3. EFFECTIVE DATE. This section shall become effective immediately upon approval by the electors of Florida.

ARTICLE VII: FINANCE AND TAXATION, Section 6. Homestead exemptions.

SECTION 6.Homestead exemptions.
  1. Every person who has the legal or equitable title to real estate and maintains thereon the permanent residence of the owner, or another legally or naturally dependent upon the owner, shall be exempt from taxation thereon, except assessments for special benefits, up to the assessed valuation of twenty-five thousand dollars $25,000 and, for all levies other than school district levies, on the assessed valuation greater than fifty thousand dollars and up to seventy-five thousand dollars$75,000, upon establishment of right thereto in the manner prescribed by law. The real estate may be held by legal or equitable title, by the entireties, jointly, in common, as a condominium, or indirectly by stock ownership or membership representing the owner's or member's proprietary interest in a corporation owning a fee or a leasehold initially in excess of ninety-eight 98-years. The exemption shall not apply with respect to any assessment roll until such roll is first determined to be in compliance with the provisions of section 4 by a state agency designated by general law. This exemption is repealed on the effective date of any amendment to this Article which provides for the assessment of homestead property at less than just value.
  2. Not more than one exemption shall be allowed any individual or family unit or with respect to any residential unit. No exemption shall exceed the value of the real estate assessable to the owner or, in case of ownership through stock or membership in a corporation, the value of the proportion which the interest in the corporation bears to the assessed value of the property.
  3. By general law and subject to conditions specified therein, the Legislature may provide to renters, who are permanent residents, ad valorem tax relief on all ad valorem tax levies. Such ad valorem tax relief shall be in the form and amount established by general law.
  4. The legislature may, by general law, allow counties or municipalities, for the purpose of their respective tax levies and subject to the provisions of general law, to grant either or both of the following additional homestead tax exemptions:
    1. An exemption not exceeding fifty thousand dollars $50,000 to a person who has the legal or equitable title to real estate and maintains thereon the permanent residence of the owner, who has attained age sixty-five65, and whose household income, as defined by general law, does not exceed twenty thousand dollars$20,000; or
    2. An exemption equal to the assessed value of the property to a person who has the legal or equitable title to real estate with a just value less than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars$250,000, as determined in the first tax year that the owner applies and is eligible for the exemption, and who has maintained thereon the permanent residence of the owner for not less than twenty-five 25-years, who has attained age sixty-five65, and whose household income does not exceed the income limitation prescribed in paragraph (1).
    The general law must allow counties and municipalities to grant these additional exemptions, within the limits prescribed in this subsection, by ordinance adopted in the manner prescribed by general law, and must provide for the periodic adjustment of the income limitation prescribed in this subsection for changes in the cost of living.
  5. Each veteran who is age 65 or older who is partially or totally permanently disabled shall receive a discount from the amount of the ad valorem tax otherwise owed on homestead property the veteran owns and resides in if the disability was combat related and the veteran was honorably discharged upon separation from military service. The discount shall be in a percentage equal to the percentage of the veteran's permanent, service-connected disability as determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. To qualify for the discount granted by this subsection, an applicant must submit to the county property appraiser, by March 1, an official letter from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs stating the percentage of the veteran's service-connected disability and such evidence that reasonably identifies the disability as combat related and a copy of the veteran's honorable discharge. If the property appraiser denies the request for a discount, the appraiser must notify the applicant in writing of the reasons for the denial, and the veteran may reapply. The Legislature may, by general law, waive the annual application requirement in subsequent years. This subsection is self-executing and does not require implementing legislation.
  6. By general law and subject to conditions and limitations specified therein, the Legislature may provide ad valorem tax relief equal to the total amount or a portion of the ad valorem tax otherwise owed on homestead property to:
    1. The surviving spouse of a veteran who died from service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the United States Armed Forces.
    2. The surviving spouse of a first responder who died in the line of duty.
    3. A first responder who is totally and permanently disabled as a result of an injury or injuries sustained in the line of duty. Causal connection between a disability and service in the line of duty shall not be presumed but must be determined as provided by general law. For purposes of this paragraph, the term "disability" does not include a chronic condition or chronic disease, unless the injury sustained in the line of duty was the sole cause of the chronic condition or chronic disease.
    As used in this subsection and as further defined by general law, the term "first responder" means a law enforcement officer, a correctional officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical technician, or a paramedic, and the term "in the line of duty" means arising out of and in the actual performance of duty required by employment as a first responder.

ARTICLE VII: FINANCE AND TAXATION, Section 7. Allocation of pari-mutuel taxes.

SECTION 7. Allocation of pari-mutuel taxes.

Taxes upon the operation of pari-mutuel pools may be preempted to the state or allocated in whole or in part to the counties. When allocated to the counties, the distribution shall be in equal amounts to the several counties.

ARTICLE VII: FINANCE AND TAXATION, Section 14. Bonds for pollution control and abatement and other water facilities.

SECTION 14. Bonds for pollution control and abatement and other water facilities.
  1. When authorized by law, state bonds pledging the full faith and credit of the state may be issued without an election to finance the construction of air and water pollution control and abatement and solid waste disposal facilities and other water facilities authorized by general law (herein referred to as "facilities") to be operated by any municipality, county, district or authority, or any agency thereof (herein referred to as "local governmental agencies"), or by any agency of the State of Florida. Such bonds shall be secured by a pledge of and shall be payable primarily from all or any part of revenues to be derived from operation of such facilities, special assessments, rentals to be received under lease-purchase agreements herein provided for, any other revenues that may be legally available for such purpose, including revenues from other facilities, or any combination thereof (herein collectively referred to as "pledged revenues"), and shall be additionally secured by the full faith and credit of the State of Florida.
  2. No such bonds shall be issued unless a state fiscal agency, created by law, has made a determination that in no state fiscal year will the debt service requirements of the bonds proposed to be issued and all other bonds secured by the pledged revenues exceed seventy-five per cent of the pledged revenues.
  3. The state may lease any of such facilities to any local governmental agency, under lease-purchase agreements for such periods and under such other terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed upon. The local governmental agencies may pledge the revenues derived from such leased facilities or any other available funds for the payment of rentals thereunder; and, in addition, the full faith and credit and taxing power of such local governmental agencies may be pledged for the payment of such rentals without any election of freeholder electors or qualified electors.
  4. The state may also issue such bonds for the purpose of loaning money to local governmental agencies, for the construction of such facilities to be owned or operated by any of such local governmental agencies. Such loans shall bear interest at not more than one-half of one per cent per annum greater than the last preceding issue of state bonds pursuant to this section, shall be secured by the pledged revenues, and may be additionally secured by the full faith and credit of the local governmental agencies.
  5. The total outstanding principal of state bonds issued pursuant to this section 14 shall never exceed fifty per cent of the total tax revenues of the state for the two preceding fiscal years.

ARTICLE VII: FINANCE AND TAXATION, Section 18. Laws requiring counties or municipalities to spend funds or limiting their ability to raise revenue or receive state tax revenue.

SECTION 18.Laws requiring counties or municipalities to spend funds or limiting their ability to raise revenue or receive state tax revenue.
  1. No county or municipality shall be bound by any general law requiring such county or municipality to spend funds or to take an action requiring the expenditure of funds unless the legislature has determined that such law fulfills an important state interest and unless: funds have been appropriated that have been estimated at the time of enactment to be sufficient to fund such expenditure; the legislature authorizes or has authorized a county or municipality to enact a funding source not available for such county or municipality on February 1, 1989, that can be used to generate the amount of funds estimated to be sufficient to fund such expenditure by a simple majority vote of the governing body of such county or municipality; the law requiring such expenditure is approved by two-thirds of the membership in each house of the legislature; the expenditure is required to comply with a law that applies to all persons similarly situated, including the state and local governments; or the law is either required to comply with a federal requirement or required for eligibility for a federal entitlement, which federal requirement specifically contemplates actions by counties or municipalities for compliance.
  2. Except upon approval of each house of the legislature by two-thirds of the membership of the legislature, the legislature may not enact, amend, or repeal any general law if the anticipated effect of doing so would be to reduce the authority that municipalities or counties have to raise revenues in the aggregate, as such authority exists on February 1, 1989.
  3. Except upon approval of each house of the legislature by two-thirds of the membership of the legislature, the legislature may not enact, amend, or repeal any general law if the anticipated effect of doing so would be to reduce the percentage of a state tax shared with counties and municipalities as an aggregate on February 1, 1989. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to enhancements enacted after February 1, 1989, to state tax sources, or during a fiscal emergency declared in a written joint proclamation issued by the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representativesspeaker of the legislature, or where the legislature provides additional state-shared revenues which are anticipated to be sufficient to replace the anticipated aggregate loss of state-shared revenues resulting from the reduction of the percentage of the state tax shared with counties and municipalities, which source of replacement revenues shall be subject to the same requirements for repeal or modification as provided herein for a state-shared tax source existing on February 1, 1989.
  4. Laws adopted to require funding of pension benefits existing on the effective date of this section, criminal laws, election laws, the general appropriations act, special appropriations acts, laws reauthorizing but not expanding then-existing statutory authority, laws having insignificant fiscal impact, and laws creating, modifying, or repealing noncriminal infractions, are exempt from the requirements of this section.
  5. The legislature may enact laws to assist in the implementation and enforcement of this section.

ARTICLE VII: FINANCE AND TAXATION, New Section.

Catchline: Financing of transportation and conservation.

 

(a) Notwithstanding Section 17 of this Article, no moneys, including bond proceeds, derived from taxes, fees, excises, or license taxes relating to registration, title, or operation or use of vehicles, or related to the use of highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, airports, or to fuels used for propelling vehicles or watercraft, or derived from taxes, fees, excises, or license taxes relating to any other transportation infrastructure or transportation operation, shall be expended for purposes other than as provided in subsections (b) and (c).

(b) Transportation funds may be expended for the following:

(1) the costs of administering laws related to vehicles and watercraft and transportation, including statutory refunds and adjustments provided in those laws;

(2) payment of highway obligations;

(3) costs for construction, reconstruction, maintenance, repair, and betterment of highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, airports, or other forms of transportation; and

(4) other statutory highway purposes.

Transportation funds may also be expended for the State or local share of highway funds to match federal aid highway funds, and expenses of grade separation of highways and railroad crossings, including protection of at-grade highways and railroad crossings, and, with respect to local governments, other transportation purposes as authorized by law.

(c) The costs of administering laws related to vehicles, watercraft, and transportation shall be limited to direct program expenses related to the following:

(1) the enforcement of traffic, railroad, watercraft, and motor carrier laws;

(2) the safety of highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, or airports; and

(3) the construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, maintenance, operation, and administration of highways, under any related provisions of law or any purpose related or incident to, including grade separation of highways and railroad crossings.

 

(d) None of the revenues described in subsection (a) of this Section shall, by transfer, offset, or otherwise, be diverted to any purpose other than those described in subsections (b) and (c) of this Section.

(e) If the Legislature appropriates funds for a mode of transportation not described in this Section, the Legislature must provide for a dedicated source of funding.

(f) Federal funds may be spent for any purposes authorized by federal law.

(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of this Section, the proceeds from the tolls of highways and bridges within the State of Florida shall be distributed as follows:

(1) ninety-two percent (92%) shall be used for the transportation purposes of this Section;

(2) four percent (4%) shall be deposited into the Everglades Trust Fund; and

(3) four percent (4%) shall be distributed amongst the dedicated funds that are established by law and under the management of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

 

ARTICLE VIII: LOCAL GOVERNMENT, Section 1. Counties.

SECTION 1.Counties.
  1. POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS. The state shall be divided by law into political subdivisions called counties. Counties may be created, abolished or changed by law, with provision for payment or apportionment of the public debt.
  2. COUNTY FUNDS. The care, custody and method of disbursing county funds shall be provided by general law.
  3. GOVERNMENT. Pursuant to general or special law, a county government may shall be established by charter which shall be adopted, amended or repealed only upon vote of the electors of the county in a special election called for that purpose.
  4. COUNTY OFFICERS. There shall be elected by the electors of each county, for terms of four six years, a sheriff and a clerk of the courts., a tax collector, a property appraiser, a supervisor of elections, and a clerk of the circuit court; except, when provided by county charter or special law approved by vote of the electors of the county, any county officer may be chosen in another manner therein specified, or any county office may be abolished when all the duties of the office prescribed by general law are transferred to another office. No sheriff or clerk of the courts shall be eligible to the same office for the term next succeeding that for which he/she was elected. When not otherwise provided by county charter or special law approved by vote of the electors, the clerk of the circuit court shall be ex officio clerk of the board of county commissioners, auditor, recorder and custodian of all county funds.
  5. COMMISSIONERS. Except when otherwise provided by county charter, the governing body of each county shall be a board of county commissioners composed of five or seven members serving staggered terms of four years. After each decennial census the board of county commissioners shall divide the county into districts of contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable. One commissioner residing in each district shall be elected as provided by law.
  6. NON-CHARTER GOVERNMENT. Counties not operating under county charters shall have such power of self-government as is provided by general or special law. The board of county commissioners of a county not operating under a charter may enact, in a manner prescribed by general law, county ordinances not inconsistent with general or special law, but an ordinance in conflict with a municipal ordinance shall not be effective within the municipality to the extent of such conflict.
  7. CHARTER GOVERNMENT.  Counties operating The counties shall operate under county charters and shall have all powers of local self-government not inconsistent with general law, or with special law approved by vote of the electors. The governing body of a county operating under a charter may enact county ordinances not inconsistent with general law. The charter shall provide which shall prevail in the event of conflict between county and municipal ordinances.
  8. TAXES; LIMITATION. Property situate within municipalities shall not be subject to taxation for services rendered by the county exclusively for the benefit of the property or residents in unincorporated areas.
  9. COUNTY ORDINANCES. Each county ordinance shall be filed with the custodian of state records and shall become effective at such time thereafter as is provided by general law.
  10. VIOLATION OF ORDINANCES. Persons violating county ordinances shall be prosecuted and punished as provided by law.
  11. COUNTY SEAT. In every county there shall be a county seat at which shall be located the principal offices and permanent records of all county officers. The county seat may not be moved except as provided by general law. Branch offices for the conduct of county business may be established elsewhere in the county by resolution of the governing body of the county in the manner prescribed by law. No instrument shall be deemed recorded until filed at the county seat, or a branch office designated by the governing body of the county for the recording of instruments, according to law.
  12. NAMES. No county shall be named after any person, place, or event that is in connection with the preservation of slavery or segregation; the massacre or forced relocation of the Native Americans; or the Confederate States of America.

ARTICLE VIII: LOCAL GOVERNMENT, Section 3. Consolidation.

SECTION 3.Consolidation.

The Effective January 1, 2021, the government of a county with a resident population of at least 150,000, according to the most recent federal census, and the government of one or more municipalities located therein may shall be consolidated into a single government which may shall exercise any and all powers of the county and the several municipalities. The consolidation plan may be proposed only by special law, which shall become effective if approved by vote of the electors of the county, or of the county and municipalities affected, as may be provided in the plan. Consolidation shall not extend the territorial scope of taxation for the payment of pre-existing debt except to areas whose residents receive a benefit from the facility or service for which the indebtedness was incurred.

ARTICLE VIII: LOCAL GOVERNMENT, Section 5. Local option.

SECTION 5. Local option.
  1. Local option on the legality or prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors, wines or beers shall be preserved to each county. The status of a county with respect thereto shall be changed only by vote of the electors in a special election called upon the petition of twenty-five per cent of the electors of the county, and not sooner than two years after an earlier election on the same question. Where legal, the sale of intoxicating liquors, wines and beers shall be regulated by law.
  2. Each county shall have the authority to require a criminal history records check and a 3 to 5-day waiting period, excluding weekends and legal holidays, in connection with the sale of any firearm occurring within such county. For purposes of this subsection, the term "sale" means the transfer of money or other valuable consideration for any firearm when any part of the transaction is conducted on property to which the public has the right of access. Holders of a concealed weapons permit as prescribed by general law shall not be subject to the provisions of this subsection when purchasing a firearm.

ARTICLE VIII: LOCAL GOVERNMENT, Section 6. Schedule to Article VIII.

SECTION 6. Schedule to Article VIII.
  1. This article shall replace all of Article VIII of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, except those sections expressly retained and made a part of this article by reference.
  2. COUNTIES; COUNTY SEATS; MUNICIPALITIES; DISTRICTS. The status of the following items as they exist on the date this article becomes effective is recognized and shall be continued until changed in accordance with law: the counties of the state; their status with respect to the legality of the sale of intoxicating liquors, wines and beers; the method of selection of county officers; the performance of municipal functions by county officers; the county seats; and the municipalities and special districts of the state, their powers, jurisdiction and government.
  3. OFFICERS TO CONTINUE IN OFFICE. Every person holding office when this article becomes effective shall continue in office for the remainder of the term if that office is not abolished. If the office is abolished the incumbent shall be paid adequate compensation, to be fixed by law, for the loss of emoluments for the remainder of the term.
  4. ORDINANCES. Local laws relating only to unincorporated areas of a county on the effective date of this article may be amended or repealed by county ordinance.
  5. CONSOLIDATION AND HOME RULE. Article VIII, Sections 9, 10, 11 and 24, of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, shall remain in full force and effect as to each county affected, as if this article had not been adopted, until that county shall expressly adopt a charter or home rule plan pursuant to this article. All provisions of the Metropolitan Dade County Home Rule Charter, heretofore or hereafter adopted by the electors of Dade County pursuant to Article VIII, Section 11, of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, shall be valid, and any amendments to such charter shall be valid; provided that the said provisions of such charter and the said amendments thereto are authorized under said Article VIII, Section 11, of the Constitution of 1885, as amended.
  6. DADE COUNTY; POWERS CONFERRED UPON MUNICIPALITIES. To the extent not inconsistent with the powers of existing municipalities or general law, the Metropolitan Government of Dade County may exercise all the powers conferred now or hereafter by general law upon municipalities.
  7. DELETION OF OBSOLETE SCHEDULE ITEMS. The legislature shall have power, by joint resolution, to delete from this article any subsection of this Section 6, including this subsection, when all events to which the subsection to be deleted is or could become applicable have occurred. A legislative determination of fact made as a basis for application of this subsection shall be subject to judicial review.

ARTICLE VIII: LOCAL GOVERNMENT, New Section.

Catchline: Reorganization of the counties.

(a) CERTAIN COUNTIES ABOLISHED.

(1) Notwithstanding Section 3 of this Article, effective on January 1, 2021, the following counties shall be abolished, merged, and/or be annexed as follows:

(A) Santa Rosa County is abolished and annexed to Escambia County;

(B) Walton County is abolished and annexed to Okaloosa County;

(C) The counties of Jackson and Holmes are both abolished and annexed to Washington County;

(D) Calhoun County is abolished and annexed to Gulf County;

(E) The counties of Franklin and Gadsden are both abolished and annexed to Liberty County;

(F) Wakulla County is abolished and annexed to Leon County;

(G) The counties of Hamilton and Jefferson are both abolished and annexed to Madison County;

(H) The counties of Dixie and Taylor are both abolished and annexed to Lafayette County;

(I) Gilchrist County is abolished and annexed to Levy County;

(J) Columbia County is abolished and annexed to Suwannee County;

(K) The counties of Baker and Bradford are both abolished and annexed to Union County;

(L) Nassau County is abolished and annexed to Duval County;

(M) Putnam County is abolished and annexed to Clay County;

(N) Flagler County is abolished and annexed to Saint Johns County;

(O) Hardee County is abolished and annexed to DeSoto County;

(P) Hendry County is abolished and annexed to Glades County; and

(Q) The counties of Indian River and Martin are both abolished and annexed to Saint Lucie County.

(2) On the effective date of January 1, 2021, the elective offices of the abolished counties shall cease to exist, and the newly reorganized counties shall assume the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the abolished counties. The boundaries of the appellate districts and judicial circuits shall be adjusted accordingly, and the judicial officers of the abolished counties shall become the judicial officers of the newly reorganized counties. Any and all statutory and judicial references to the abolished counties shall be construed to mean the newly reorganized counties.

(b) RESTRICTIONS. None of the abolished counties or the newly reorganized counties shall be subject to abolishment, reestablishing, or any other kind of reformation or reorganization, until the general election of the year 2030 and thereafter.

 

ARTICLE IX: EDUCATION, Section 2. State board of education.

SECTION 2.State board of education.

The state board of education shall be a body corporate and have such supervision of the system of free public education as is provided by law. The state board of education shall consist of seven members appointed by the governor to staggered 4-year terms, subject to confirmation by the senatelegislature. No member of the state board of education shall serve more than eight years in the same office. The state board of education shall appoint the commissioner of education.

ARTICLE IX: EDUCATION, Section 4. School districts; school boards.

SECTION 4.School districts; school boards.
  1. Each county shall constitute a school district; provided, two or more contiguous counties, upon vote of the electors of each county pursuant to law, may be combined into one school district. In each school district there shall be a school board composed of five or more members chosen by vote of the electors in a nonpartisan election for appropriately staggered terms of four years, as provided by law. No member of a school board shall serve more than eight years in the same office.
  2. The school board shall operate, control and supervise all free public schools within the school district and determine the rate of school district taxes within the limits prescribed herein. Two or more school districts may operate and finance joint educational programs.

ARTICLE IX: EDUCATION, Section 5. Superintendent of schools.

SECTION 5.Superintendent of schools.

In each school district there shall be a superintendent of schools who shall be elected at the general election for a term of six years. No superintendent of schools shall be eligible to the same office for the term next succeeding that for which he/she was elected.in each year the number of which is a multiple of four for a term of four years; or, when provided by resolution of the district school board, or by special law, approved by vote of the electors, the district school superintendent in any school district shall be employed by the district school board as provided by general law. The resolution or special law may be rescinded or repealed by either procedure after four years.

ARTICLE IX: EDUCATION, Section 7. State University System.

SECTION 7.State University System.
  1. PURPOSES. In order to achieve excellence through teaching students, advancing research and providing public service for the benefit of Florida's citizens, their communities and economies, the people hereby establish a system of governance for the state university system of Florida.
  2. STATE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM. There shall be a single state university system comprised of all public universities. A board of trustees shall administer each public university and a board of governors shall govern the state university system.
  3. LOCAL BOARDS OF TRUSTEES. Each local constituent university shall be administered by a board of trustees consisting of thirteen 13 members dedicated to the purposes of the state university system. The board of governors shall establish the powers and duties of the boards of trustees. Each board of trustees shall consist of six 7 citizen members appointed by the governor and five 6 citizen members appointed by the board of governors. The appointed members shall be confirmed by the senate legislature and serve staggered terms of five years as provided by law. The chair of the faculty senate, or the equivalent, and the president of the student body of the university shall also be members.
  4. STATEWIDE BOARD OF GOVERNORS. The board of governors shall be a body corporate consisting of seventeen 17 members. The board shall operate, regulate, control, and be fully responsible for the management of the whole university system. These responsibilities shall include, but not be limited to, defining the distinctive mission of each constituent university and its articulation with free public schools and community colleges, ensuring the well-planned coordination and operation of the system, and avoiding wasteful duplication of facilities or programs. The board's management shall be subject to the powers of the legislature to appropriate for the expenditure of funds, and the board shall account for such expenditures as provided by law. The governor shall appoint to the board fourteen 14 citizens dedicated to the purposes of the state university system. The appointed members shall be confirmed by the senate legislature and serve staggered terms of seven years as provided by law. The commissioner of education, the chair of the advisory council of faculty senates, or the equivalent, and the president of the Florida student association, or the equivalent, shall also be members of the board.

ARTICLE IX: EDUCATION, New Section.

Catchline: State College System.

 

  1. PURPOSES. In order to achieve excellence through teaching students, advancing research and providing public service for the benefit of Florida's citizens, their communities and economies, the people hereby establish a system of governance for the state college system of Florida.
  2. STATE COLLEGE SYSTEM. There shall be a single state college system comprised of all public colleges. A board of trustees shall administer each public college and a board of regents shall govern the state college system.
  3. LOCAL BOARDS OF TRUSTEES. Each local constituent college shall be administered by a board of trustees consisting of 11 members dedicated to the purposes of the state college system. The board of regents shall establish the powers and duties of the boards of trustees. Each board of trustees shall consist of 5 citizen members appointed by the governor and 4 citizen members appointed by the board of regents. The appointed members shall be confirmed by the legislature and serve staggered terms of five years as provided by law. The chair of the faculty senate, or the equivalent, and the president of the student body of the public college shall also be members.
  4. STATEWIDE BOARD OF REGENTS. The board of regents shall be a body corporate consisting of 15 members. The board shall operate, regulate, control, and be fully responsible for the management of the whole college system. These responsibilities shall include, but not be limited to, defining the distinctive mission of each constituent college and its articulation with free public schools, ensuring the well-planned coordination and operation of the system, and avoiding wasteful duplication of facilities or programs. The board's management shall be subject to the powers of the legislature to appropriate for the expenditure of funds, and the board shall account for such expenditures as provided by law. The governor shall appoint to the board 12 citizens dedicated to the purposes of the state college system. The appointed members shall be confirmed by the legislature and serve staggered terms of seven years as provided by law. The commissioner of education, the chair of the advisory council of faculty senates, or the equivalent, and the president of the Florida student association, or the equivalent, shall also be members of the board.

 

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 2. Militia.

SECTION 2.Militia.
  1. The militia shall be composed of all ablebodied inhabitants of the state who are or have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States; and no person because of religious creed or opinion shall be exempted from military duty except upon conditions provided by law.
  2. The organizing, equipping, housing, maintaining, and disciplining of the militia, and the safekeeping of public arms may be provided for by law.
  3. The governor shall appoint all commissioned officers of the militia, including an adjutant general who shall be chief of staff. The appointment of all general officers shall be subject to confirmation by the senatelegislature.
  4. The qualifications of personnel and officers of the federally recognized national guard, including the adjutant general, and the grounds and proceedings for their discipline and removal shall conform to the appropriate United States army or air force regulations and usages.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 4. Homestead; exemptions.

SECTION 4.Homestead; exemptions.
  1. There shall be exempt from forced sale under process of any court, and no judgment, decree or execution shall be a lien thereon, except for the payment of taxes and assessments thereon, obligations contracted for the purchase, improvement or repair thereof, or obligations contracted for house, field or other labor performed on the realty, the following property owned by a natural person:
    1. a homestead, if located outside a municipality, to the extent of one hundred sixty 160 acres of contiguous land and improvements thereon, which shall not be reduced without the owner's consent by reason of subsequent inclusion in a municipality; or if located within a municipality, to the extent of one-half acre of contiguous land, upon which the exemption shall be limited to the residence of the owner or the owner's family;
    2. personal property to the value of one thousand dollars$1,000.
  2. These exemptions shall inure to the surviving spouse or heirs of the owner.
  3. The homestead shall not be subject to devise if the owner is survived by spouse or minor child, except the homestead may be devised to the owner's spouse if there be no minor child. The owner of homestead real estate, joined by the spouse if married, may alienate the homestead by mortgage, sale or gift and, if married, may by deed transfer the title to an estate by the entirety with the spouse. If the owner or spouse is incompetent, the method of alienation or encumbrance shall be as provided by law.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 6. Eminent domain.

SECTION 6.Eminent domain.
  1. No private property shall be taken except for a public purpose and with full compensation therefor paid to each owner or secured by deposit in the registry of the court and available to the owner.
  2. Provision may be made by law for the taking of easements, by like proceedings, for the drainage of the land of one person over or through the land of another.
  3. Private property taken by eminent domain pursuant to a petition to initiate condemnation proceedings filed on or after January 2, 2007, may not be conveyed to a natural person or private entity except as provided by general law passed by a three-fifths vote of the membership of each house of the Legislature.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 12. Rules of construction.

SECTION 12.Rules of construction.

Unless qualified in the text the following rules of construction shall apply to this constitution.

  1. "Herein" refers to the entire constitution.
  2. The singular includes the plural.
  3. The masculine includes the feminine.
  4. "Vote of the electors" means the vote of the majority of those voting on the matter in an election, general or special, in which those participating are limited to the electors of the governmental unit referred to in the text.
  5. Vote or other action of a legislative house or other governmental body means the vote or action of a majority or other specified percentage of those members voting on the matter. "Of the membership" means "of all members thereof."
  6. The terms "judicial office," "justices" and "judges" shall not include judges of courts established solely for the trial of violations of ordinances.
  7. "Special law" means a special or local law.
  8. Titles and subtitles shall not be used in construction.
  9. "Senate" or "House of Representatives" shall mean the unicameral Legislature of the State of Florida.

 

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 16. Limiting marine net fishing.

SECTION 16. Limiting marine net fishing.
  1. The marine resources of the State of Florida belong to all of the people of the state and should be conserved and managed for the benefit of the state, its people, and future generations. To this end the people hereby enact limitations on marine net fishing in Florida waters to protect saltwater finfish, shellfish, and other marine animals from unnecessary killing, overfishing and waste.
  2. For the purpose of catching or taking any saltwater finfish, shellfish or other marine animals in Florida waters:
    1. No gill nets or other entangling nets shall be used in any Florida waters; and
    2. In addition to the prohibition set forth in (1), no other type of net containing more than 500 square feet of mesh area shall be used in nearshore and inshore Florida waters. Additionally, no more than two such nets, which shall not be connected, shall be used from any vessel, and no person not on a vessel shall use more than one such net in nearshore and inshore Florida waters.
  3. For purposes of this section:
    1. "gill net" means one or more walls of netting which captures saltwater finfish by ensnaring or entangling them in the meshes of the net by the gills, and "entangling net" means a drift net, trammell net, stab net, or any other net which captures saltwater finfish, shellfish, or other marine animals by causing all or part of heads, fins, legs, or other body parts to become entangled or ensnared in the meshes of the net, but a hand thrown cast net is not a gill net or an entangling net;
    2. "mesh area" of a net means the total area of netting with the meshes open to comprise the maximum square footage. The square footage shall be calculated using standard mathematical formulas for geometric shapes. Seines and other rectangular nets shall be calculated using the maximum length and maximum width of the netting. Trawls and other bag type nets shall be calculated as a cone using the maximum circumference of the net mouth to derive the radius, and the maximum length from the net mouth to the tail end of the net to derive the slant height. Calculations for any other nets or combination type nets shall be based on the shapes of the individual components;
    3. "coastline" means the territorial sea base line for the State of Florida established pursuant to the laws of the United States of America;
    4. "Florida waters" means the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, and any other bodies of water under the jurisdiction of the State of Florida, whether coastal, intracoastal or inland, and any part thereof; and
    5. "nearshore and inshore Florida waters" means all Florida waters inside a line three miles seaward of the coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and inside a line one mile seaward of the coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.
  4. This section shall not apply to the use of nets for scientific research or governmental purposes.
  5. Persons violating this section shall be prosecuted and punished pursuant to the penalties provided in section 370.021(2)(a),(b),(c)6. and 7., and (e), Florida Statutes (1991), unless and until the legislature enacts more stringent penalties for violations hereof. On and after the effective date of this section, law enforcement officers in the state are authorized to enforce the provisions of this section in the same manner and authority as if a violation of this section constituted a violation of Chapter 370, Florida Statutes (1991).
  6. It is the intent of this section that implementing legislation is not required for enforcing any violations hereof, but nothing in this section prohibits the establishment by law or pursuant to law of more restrictions on the use of nets for the purpose of catching or taking any saltwater finfish, shellfish, or other marine animals.
  7. If any portion of this section is held invalid for any reason, the remaining portion of this section, to the fullest extent possible, shall be severed from the void portion and given the fullest possible force and application.
  8. This section shall take effect on the July 1 next occurring after approval hereof by vote of the electors.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 17. Everglades Trust Fund.

SECTION 17. Everglades Trust Fund.
  1. There is hereby established the Everglades Trust Fund, which shall not be subject to termination pursuant to Article III, Section 19(f). The purpose of the Everglades Trust Fund is to make funds available to assist in conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of water pollution in the Everglades Protection Area and the Everglades Agricultural Area. The trust fund shall be administered by the South Florida Water Management District, or its successor agency, consistent with statutory law.
  2. The Everglades Trust Fund may receive funds from any source, including gifts from individuals, corporations or other entities; funds from general revenue as determined by the Legislature; and any other funds so designated by the Legislature, by the United States Congress or by any other governmental entity.
  3. Funds deposited to the Everglades Trust Fund shall be expended for purposes of conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of water pollution in the Everglades Protection Area and Everglades Agricultural Area.
  4. For purposes of this subsection, the terms "Everglades Protection Area," "Everglades Agricultural Area" and "South Florida Water Management District" shall have the meanings as defined in statutes in effect on January 1, 1996.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 18. Disposition of conservation lands.

SECTION 18. Disposition of conservation lands.

The fee interest in real property held by an entity of the state and designated for natural resources conservation purposes as provided by general law shall be managed for the benefit of the citizens of this state and may be disposed of only if the members of the governing board of the entity holding title determine the property is no longer needed for conservation purposes and only upon a vote of two-thirds of the governing board.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 19. High speed ground transportation system.

SECTION 19. High speed ground transportation system.

To reduce traffic congestion and provide alternatives to the traveling public, it is hereby declared to be in the public interest that a high speed ground transportation system consisting of a monorail, fixed guideway or magnetic levitation system, capable of speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour, be developed and operated in the State of Florida to provide high speed ground transportation by innovative, efficient and effective technologies consisting of dedicated rails or guideways separated from motor vehicular traffic that will link the five largest urban areas of the State as determined by the Legislature and provide for access to existing air and ground transportation facilities and services. The Legislature, the Cabinet and the Governor are hereby directed to proceed with the development of such a system by the State and/or by a private entity pursuant to state approval and authorization, including the acquisition of right-of-way, the financing of design and construction of the system, and the operation of the system, as provided by specific appropriation and by law, with construction to begin on or before November 1, 2003.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 21. Limiting cruel and inhumane confinement of pigs during pregnancy.

SECTION 21. Limiting cruel and inhumane confinement of pigs during pregnancy.

Inhumane treatment of animals is a concern of Florida citizens. To prevent cruelty to certain animals and as recommended by The Humane Society of the United States, the people of the State of Florida hereby limit the cruel and inhumane confinement of pigs during pregnancy as provided herein.

  1. It shall be unlawful for any person to confine a pig during pregnancy in an enclosure, or to tether a pig during pregnancy, on a farm in such a way that she is prevented from turning around freely.
  2. This section shall not apply:
    1. when a pig is undergoing an examination, test, treatment or operation carried out for veterinary purposes, provided the period during which the animal is confined or tethered is not longer than reasonably necessary.
    2. during the prebirthing period.
  3. For purposes of this section:
    1. "enclosure" means any cage, crate or other enclosure in which a pig is kept for all or the majority of any day, including what is commonly described as the "gestation crate."
    2. "farm" means the land, buildings, support facilities, and other appurtenances used in the production of animals for food or fiber.
    3. "person" means any natural person, corporation and/or business entity.
    4. "pig" means any animal of the porcine species.
    5. "turning around freely" means turning around without having to touch any side of the pig's enclosure.
    6. "prebirthing period" means the seven day period prior to a pig's expected date of giving birth.
  4. A person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082(4)(a), Florida Statutes (1999), as amended, or by a fine of not more than $5000, or by both imprisonment and a fine, unless and until the legislature enacts more stringent penalties for violations hereof. On and after the effective date of this section, law enforcement officers in the state are authorized to enforce the provisions of this section in the same manner and authority as if a violation of this section constituted a violation of Section 828.13, Florida Statutes (1999). The confinement or tethering of each pig shall constitute a separate offense. The knowledge or acts of agents and employees of a person in regard to a pig owned, farmed or in the custody of a person, shall be held to be the knowledge or act of such person.
  5. It is the intent of this section that implementing legislation is not required for enforcing any violations hereof.
  6. If any portion of this section is held invalid for any reason, the remaining portion of this section, to the fullest extent possible, shall be severed from the void portion and given the fullest possible force and application.
  7. This section shall take effect six years after approval by the electors.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 23. Slot machines.

SECTION 23. Slot machines.
  1. After voter approval of this constitutional amendment, the governing bodies of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties each may hold a county-wide referendum in their respective counties on whether to authorize slot machines within existing, licensed parimutuel facilities (thoroughbred and harness racing, greyhound racing, and jai-alai) that have conducted live racing or games in that county during each of the last two calendar years before the effective date of this amendment. If the voters of such county approve the referendum question by majority vote, slot machines shall be authorized in such parimutuel facilities. If the voters of such county by majority vote disapprove the referendum question, slot machines shall not be so authorized, and the question shall not be presented in another referendum in that county for at least two years.
  2. In the next regular Legislative session occurring after voter approval of this constitutional amendment, the Legislature shall adopt legislation implementing this section and having an effective date no later than July 1 of the year following voter approval of this amendment. Such legislation shall authorize agency rules for implementation, and may include provisions for the licensure and regulation of slot machines. The Legislature may tax slot machine revenues, and any such taxes must supplement public education funding statewide.
  3. If any part of this section is held invalid for any reason, the remaining portion or portions shall be severed from the invalid portion and given the fullest possible force and effect.
  4. This amendment shall become effective when approved by vote of the electors of the state.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 24. Florida minimum wage.

SECTION 24. Florida minimum wage.
  1. PUBLIC POLICY. All working Floridians are entitled to be paid a minimum wage that is sufficient to provide a decent and healthy life for them and their families, that protects their employers from unfair low-wage competition, and that does not force them to rely on taxpayer-funded public services in order to avoid economic hardship.
  2. DEFINITIONS. As used in this amendment, the terms "Employer," "Employee" and "Wage" shall have the meanings established under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and its implementing regulations.
  3. MINIMUM WAGE. Employers shall pay Employees Wages no less than the Minimum Wage for all hours worked in Florida. Six months after enactment, the Minimum Wage shall be established at an hourly rate of $6.15. On September 30th of that year and on each following September 30th, the state Agency for Workforce Innovation shall calculate an adjusted Minimum Wage rate by increasing the current Minimum Wage rate by the rate of inflation during the twelve months prior to each September 1st using the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers, CPI-W, or a successor index as calculated by the United States Department of Labor. Each adjusted Minimum Wage rate calculated shall be published and take effect on the following January 1st. For tipped Employees meeting eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the FLSA, Employers may credit towards satisfaction of the Minimum Wage tips up to the amount of the allowable FLSA tip credit in 2003.
  4. RETALIATION PROHIBITED. It shall be unlawful for an Employer or any other party to discriminate in any manner or take adverse action against any person in retaliation for exercising rights protected under this amendment. Rights protected under this amendment include, but are not limited to, the right to file a complaint or inform any person about any party's alleged noncompliance with this amendment, and the right to inform any person of his or her potential rights under this amendment and to assist him or her in asserting such rights.
  5. ENFORCEMENT. Persons aggrieved by a violation of this amendment may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction against an Employer or person violating this amendment and, upon prevailing, shall recover the full amount of any back wages unlawfully withheld plus the same amount as liquidated damages, and shall be awarded reasonable attorney's fees and costs. In addition, they shall be entitled to such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to remedy the violation including, without limitation, reinstatement in employment and/or injunctive relief. Any Employer or other person found liable for willfully violating this amendment shall also be subject to a fine payable to the state in the amount of $1000.00 for each violation. The state attorney general or other official designated by the state legislature may also bring a civil action to enforce this amendment. Actions to enforce this amendment shall be subject to a statute of limitations of four years or, in the case of willful violations, five years. Such actions may be brought as a class action pursuant to Rule 1.220 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
  6. ADDITIONAL LEGISLATION, IMPLEMENTATION AND CONSTRUCTION. Implementing legislation is not required in order to enforce this amendment. The state legislature may by statute establish additional remedies or fines for violations of this amendment, raise the applicable Minimum Wage rate, reduce the tip credit, or extend coverage of the Minimum Wage to employers or employees not covered by this amendment. The state legislature may by statute or the state Agency for Workforce Innovation may by regulation adopt any measures appropriate for the implementation of this amendment. This amendment provides for payment of a minimum wage and shall not be construed to preempt or otherwise limit the authority of the state legislature or any other public body to adopt or enforce any other law, regulation, requirement, policy or standard that provides for payment of higher or supplemental wages or benefits, or that extends such protections to employers or employees not covered by this amendment. It is intended that case law, administrative interpretations, and other guiding standards developed under the federal FLSA shall guide the construction of this amendment and any implementing statutes or regulations.
  7. SEVERABILITY. If any part of this amendment, or the application of this amendment to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of this amendment, including the application of such part to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected by such a holding and shall continue in full force and effect. To this end, the parts of this amendment are severable.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 27. Comprehensive Statewide Tobacco Education And Prevention Program.

SECTION 27. Comprehensive Statewide Tobacco Education And Prevention Program.

In order to protect people, especially youth, from health hazards of using tobacco, including addictive disorders, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and lung diseases; and to discourage use of tobacco, particularly among youth, a portion of the money that tobacco companies pay to the State of Florida under the Tobacco Settlement each year shall be used to fund a comprehensive statewide tobacco education and prevention program consistent with recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as follows:

  1. PROGRAM. The money appropriated pursuant to this section shall be used to fund a comprehensive statewide tobacco education and prevention program consistent with the recommendations for effective program components in the 1999 Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs of the CDC, as such Best Practices may be amended by the CDC. This program shall include, at a minimum, the following components, and may include additional components that are also contained within the CDC Best Practices, as periodically amended, and that are effective at accomplishing the purpose of this section, and that do not undermine the effectiveness of these required minimum components:
    1. an advertising campaign to discourage the use of tobacco and to educate people, especially youth, about the health hazards of tobacco, which shall be designed to be effective at achieving these goals and shall include, but need not be limited to, television, radio, and print advertising, with no limitations on any individual advertising medium utilized; and which shall be funded at a level equivalent to one-third of each total annual appropriation required by this section;
    2. evidence-based curricula and programs to educate youth about tobacco and to discourage their use of it, including, but not limited to, programs that involve youth, educate youth about the health hazards of tobacco, help youth develop skills to refuse tobacco, and demonstrate to youth how to stop using tobacco;
    3. programs of local community-based partnerships that discourage the use of tobacco and work to educate people, especially youth, about the health hazards of tobacco, with an emphasis on programs that involve youth and emphasize the prevention and cessation of tobacco use;
    4. enforcement of laws, regulations, and policies against the sale or other provision of tobacco to minors, and the possession of tobacco by minors; and
    5. publicly-reported annual evaluations to ensure that moneys appropriated pursuant to this section are spent properly, which shall include evaluation of the program's effectiveness in reducing and preventing tobacco use, and annual recommendations for improvements to enhance the program's effectiveness, which are to include comparisons to similar programs proven to be effective in other states, as well as comparisons to CDC Best Practices, including amendments thereto.
  2. FUNDING. In every year beginning with the calendar year after voters approve this amendment, the Florida Legislature shall appropriate, for the purpose expressed herein, from the total gross funds that tobacco companies pay to the State of Florida under the Tobacco Settlement, an amount equal to fifteen percent of such funds paid to the State in 2005; and the appropriation required by this section shall be adjusted annually for inflation, using the Consumer Price Index as published by the United States Department of Labor.
  3. DEFINITIONS. "Tobacco" includes, without limitation, tobacco itself and tobacco products that include tobacco and are intended or expected for human use or consumption, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. The "Tobacco Settlement" means that certain Settlement Agreement dated August 25, 1997, entered into in settlement of the case styled as State of Florida, et al. v. American Tobacco Company, et al., Case No. 95-1466 AH (Fla. 15th Cir. Ct.), as amended by Stipulation of Amendment dated September 11, 1998; and includes any subsequent amendments and successor agreements. "Youth" includes minors and young adults.
  4. EFFECTIVE DATE. This amendment shall become effective immediately upon approval by the voters.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 28. Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

SECTION 28. Land Acquisition Trust Fund.
  1. Effective on July 1 of the year following passage of this amendment by the voters, and for a period of 20 years after that effective date, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall receive no less than 33 percent of net revenues derived from the existing excise tax on documents, as defined in the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, as amended from time to time, or any successor or replacement tax, after the Department of Revenue first deducts a service charge to pay the costs of the collection and enforcement of the excise tax on documents.
  2. Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes:
    1. As provided by law, to finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land, water areas, and related property interests, including conservation easements, and resources for conservation lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat; wildlife management areas; lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II, Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space; rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational enjoyment of conservation lands.
    2. To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to Article VII, Section 11(e).
  3. The moneys deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as defined by the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, shall not be or become commingled with the general revenue fund of the state.

ARTICLE X: MISCELLANEOUS, Section 29. Medical marijuana production, possession and use.

SECTION 29. Medical marijuana production, possession and use.
  1. PUBLIC POLICY.
    1. The medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or caregiver in compliance with this section is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law.
    2. A physician shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law solely for issuing a physician certification with reasonable care to a person diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition in compliance with this section.
    3. Actions and conduct by a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center registered with the Department, or its agents or employees, and in compliance with this section and Department regulations, shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law.
  2. DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this section, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:
    1. "Debilitating Medical Condition" means cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.
    2. "Department" means the Department of Health or its successor agency.
    3. "Identification card" means a document issued by the Department that identifies a qualifying patient or a caregiver.
    4. "Marijuana" has the meaning given cannabis in Section 893.02(3), Florida Statutes (2014), and, in addition, "Low-THC cannabis" as defined in Section 381.986(1)(b), Florida Statutes (2014), shall also be included in the meaning of the term "marijuana."
    5. "Medical Marijuana Treatment Center" (MMTC) means an entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials to qualifying patients or their caregivers and is registered by the Department.
    6. "Medical use" means the acquisition, possession, use, delivery, transfer, or administration of an amount of marijuana not in conflict with Department rules, or of related supplies by a qualifying patient or caregiver for use by the caregiver's designated qualifying patient for the treatment of a debilitating medical condition.
    7. "Caregiver" means a person who is at least twenty-one (21) years old who has agreed to assist with a qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana and has qualified for and obtained a caregiver identification card issued by the Department. The Department may limit the number of qualifying patients a caregiver may assist at one time and the number of caregivers that a qualifying patient may have at one time. Caregivers are prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained for medical use by the qualifying patient.
    8. "Physician" means a person who is licensed to practice medicine in Florida.
    9. "Physician certification" means a written document signed by a physician, stating that in the physician's professional opinion, the patient suffers from a debilitating medical condition, that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for the patient, and for how long the physician recommends the medical use of marijuana for the patient. A physician certification may only be provided after the physician has conducted a physical examination and a full assessment of the medical history of the patient. In order for a physician certification to be issued to a minor, a parent or legal guardian of the minor must consent in writing.
    10. "Qualifying patient" means a person who has been diagnosed to have a debilitating medical condition, who has a physician certification and a valid qualifying patient identification card. If the Department does not begin issuing identification cards within nine (9) months after the effective date of this section, then a valid physician certification will serve as a patient identification card in order to allow a person to become a "qualifying patient" until the Department begins issuing identification cards.
  3. LIMITATIONS.
    1. Nothing in this section allows for a violation of any law other than for conduct in compliance with the provisions of this section.
    2. Nothing in this section shall affect or repeal laws relating to non-medical use, possession, production, or sale of marijuana.
    3. Nothing in this section authorizes the use of medical marijuana by anyone other than a qualifying patient.
    4. Nothing in this section shall permit the operation of any vehicle, aircraft, train or boat while under the influence of marijuana.
    5. Nothing in this section requires the violation of federal law or purports to give immunity under federal law.
    6. Nothing in this section shall require any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any correctional institution or detention facility or place of education or employment, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.
    7. Nothing in this section shall require any health insurance provider or any government agency or authority to reimburse any person for expenses related to the medical use of marijuana.
    8. Nothing in this section shall affect or repeal laws relating to negligence or professional malpractice on the part of a qualified patient, caregiver, physician, MMTC, or its agents or employees.
  4. DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT. The Department shall issue reasonable regulations necessary for the implementation and enforcement of this section. The purpose of the regulations is to ensure the availability and safe use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients. It is the duty of the Department to promulgate regulations in a timely fashion.
    1. Implementing Regulations. In order to allow the Department sufficient time after passage of this section, the following regulations shall be promulgated no later than six (6) months after the effective date of this section:
      1. Procedures for the issuance and annual renewal of qualifying patient identification cards to people with physician certifications and standards for renewal of such identification cards. Before issuing an identification card to a minor, the Department must receive written consent from the minor's parent or legal guardian, in addition to the physician certification.
      2. Procedures establishing qualifications and standards for caregivers, including conducting appropriate background checks, and procedures for the issuance and annual renewal of caregiver identification cards.
      3. Procedures for the registration of MMTCs that include procedures for the issuance, renewal, suspension and revocation of registration, and standards to ensure proper security, record keeping, testing, labeling, inspection, and safety.
      4. A regulation that defines the amount of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be an adequate supply for qualifying patients' medical use, based on the best available evidence. This presumption as to quantity may be overcome with evidence of a particular qualifying patient's appropriate medical use.
    2. Identification cards and registrations. The Department shall begin issuing qualifying patient and caregiver identification cards, and registering MMTCs no later than nine (9) months after the effective date of this section.
    3. If the Department does not issue regulations, or if the Department does not begin issuing identification cards and registering MMTCs within the time limits set in this section, any Florida citizen shall have standing to seek judicial relief to compel compliance with the Department's constitutional duties.
    4. The Department shall protect the confidentiality of all qualifying patients. All records containing the identity of qualifying patients shall be confidential and kept from public disclosure other than for valid medical or law enforcement purposes.
  5. LEGISLATION. Nothing in this section shall limit the legislature from enacting laws consistent with this section.
  6. SEVERABILITY. The provisions of this section are severable and if any clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this measure, or an application thereof, is adjudged invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction other provisions shall continue to be in effect to the fullest extent possible.

ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS, Section 1. Proposal by legislature.

SECTION 1.Proposal by legislature.

Amendment of a section or revision of one or more articles, or the whole, of this constitution may be proposed by joint resolution agreed to by three-fifths of the membership of each house of the legislature. The full text of the joint resolution and the vote of each member voting shall be entered on the journal of each house.

ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS, Section 2. Revision commission.

SECTION 2.Revision commission.
  1. Within thirty days before the convening of the 2017 regular session of the legislature, and each twentieth year thereafter, there shall be established a constitution revision commission composed of the following thirty-seven members:
    1. the attorney general of the state;
    2. fifteen members selected by the governor;
    3. nine members selected by the speaker of the house of representatives legislature and nine members selected by the president of the senateminority leader of the legislature; and
    4. three members selected by the chief justice of the supreme court of Florida with the advice of the justices.
  2. The governor shall designate one member of the commission as its chair. Vacancies in the membership of the commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.
  3. Each constitution revision commission shall convene at the call of its chair, adopt its rules of procedure, examine the constitution of the state, hold public hearings, and, not later than one hundred eighty 180 days prior to the next general election, file with the custodian of state records its proposal, if any, of a revision of this constitution or any part of it.

ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS, Section 3. Initiative.

SECTION 3.Initiative.

The power to propose the revision or amendment of any portion or portions of this constitution by initiative is reserved to the people, provided that, any such revision or amendment, except for those limiting the power of government to raise revenue, shall embrace but one subject and matter directly connected therewith. It may be invoked by filing with the custodian of state records a petition containing a copy of the proposed revision or amendment, signed by a number of electors in each of one half of the congressional districts of the state, and of the state as a whole, equal to eight six percent of the votes cast in each of such districts respectively and in the state as a whole in the last preceding election in which presidential electors were chosen.

ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS, Section 5. Amendment or revision election.

SECTION 5.Amendment or revision election.
  1. A proposed amendment to or revision of this constitution, or any part of it, shall be submitted to the electors at the next general election held more than ninety days after the joint resolution or report of revision commission, constitutional convention or taxation and budget reform commission proposing it is filed with the custodian of state records, unless, pursuant to law enacted by the affirmative vote of three-fourths of the membership of each house of the legislature and limited to a single amendment or revision, it is submitted at an earlier special election held more than ninety days after such filing.
  2. A proposed amendment or revision of this constitution, or any part of it, by initiative shall be submitted to the electors at the general election provided the initiative petition is filed with the custodian of state records no later than February 1 of the year in which the general election is held.
  3. The legislature shall provide by general law, prior to the holding of an election pursuant to this section, for the provision of a statement to the public regarding the probable financial impact of any amendment proposed by initiative pursuant to section 3.
  4. Once in the tenth week, and once in the sixth week immediately preceding the week in which the election is held, the proposed amendment or revision, with notice of the date of election at which it will be submitted to the electors, shall be published in one newspaper of general circulation in each county in which a newspaper is published.
  5. Unless otherwise specifically provided for elsewhere in this constitution, if the proposed amendment or revision is approved by vote of at least sixty percent 55% of the electors voting on the measure, it shall be effective as an amendment to or revision of the constitution of the state on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January following the election, or on such other date as may be specified in the amendment or revision.

ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS, Section 6. Taxation and budget reform commission.

SECTION 6.Taxation and budget reform commission.
  1. Beginning in 2007 and each twentieth year thereafter, there shall be established a taxation and budget reform commission composed of the following members:
    1. eleven members selected by the governor, none of whom shall be a member of the legislature at the time of appointment.
    2. seven members selected by the speaker of the house of representatives legislature and seven members selected by the president of the senateminority leader of the legislature, none of whom shall be a member of the legislature at the time of appointment.
    3. four non-voting ex officio members, all of whom shall be members of the legislature at the time of appointment. The speaker and the minority leader of the legislature shall each appoint two of these members.Two of these members, one of whom shall be a member of the minority party in the house of representatives, shall be selected by the speaker of the house of representatives, and two of these members, one of whom shall be a member of the minority party in the senate, shall be selected by the president of the senate.
  2. Vacancies in the membership of the commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.
  3. At its initial meeting, the members of the commission shall elect a member who is not a member of the legislature to serve as chair and the commission shall adopt its rules of procedure. Thereafter, the commission shall convene at the call of the chair. An affirmative vote of two thirds of the full commission shall be necessary for any revision of this constitution or any part of it to be proposed by the commission.
  4. The commission shall examine the state budgetary process, the revenue needs and expenditure processes of the state, the appropriateness of the tax structure of the state, and governmental productivity and efficiency; review policy as it relates to the ability of state and local government to tax and adequately fund governmental operations and capital facilities required to meet the state's needs during the next twenty year period; determine methods favored by the citizens of the state to fund the needs of the state, including alternative methods for raising sufficient revenues for the needs of the state; determine measures that could be instituted to effectively gather funds from existing tax sources; examine constitutional limitations on taxation and expenditures at the state and local level; and review the state's comprehensive planning, budgeting and needs assessment processes to determine whether the resulting information adequately supports a strategic decisionmaking process.
  5. The commission shall hold public hearings as it deems necessary to carry out its responsibilities under this section. The commission shall issue a report of the results of the review carried out, and propose to the legislature any recommended statutory changes related to the taxation or budgetary laws of the state. Not later than one hundred eighty 180 days prior to the general election in the second year following the year in which the commission is established, the commission shall file with the custodian of state records its proposal, if any, of a revision of this constitution or any part of it dealing with taxation or the state budgetary process.

ARTICLE XII: SCHEDULE

SECTION 1. Constitution of 1885 superseded.

Articles I through IV, VII, and IX through XX of the Constitution of Florida adopted in 1885, as amended from time to time, are superseded by this revision except those sections expressly retained and made a part of this revision by reference.

SECTION 2. Property taxes; millages.

Tax millages authorized in counties, municipalities and special districts, on the date this revision becomes effective, may be continued until reduced by law.

SECTION 3. Officers to continue in office.

Every person holding office when this revision becomes effective shall continue in office for the remainder of the term if that office is not abolished. If the office is abolished the incumbent shall be paid adequate compensation, to be fixed by law, for the loss of emoluments for the remainder of the term.

SECTION 4. State commissioner of education.

The state superintendent of public instruction in office on the effective date of this revision shall become and, for the remainder of the term being served, shall be the commissioner of education.

SECTION 5. Superintendent of schools.
  1. On the effective date of this revision the county superintendent of public instruction of each county shall become and, for the remainder of the term being served, shall be the superintendent of schools of that district.
  2. The method of selection of the county superintendent of public instruction of each county, as provided by or under the Constitution of 1885, as amended, shall apply to the selection of the district superintendent of schools until changed as herein provided.
SECTION 6. Laws preserved.
  1. All laws in effect upon the adoption of this revision, to the extent not inconsistent with it, shall remain in force until they expire by their terms or are repealed.
  2. All statutes which, under the Constitution of 1885, as amended, apply to the state superintendent of public instruction and those which apply to the county superintendent of public instruction shall under this revision apply, respectively, to the state commissioner of education and the district superintendent of schools.
SECTION 7. Rights reserved.
  1. All actions, rights of action, claims, contracts and obligations of individuals, corporations and public bodies or agencies existing on the date this revision becomes effective shall continue to be valid as if this revision had not been adopted. All taxes, penalties, fines and forfeitures owing to the state under the Constitution of 1885, as amended, shall inure to the state under this revision, and all sentences as punishment for crime shall be executed according to their terms.
  2. This revision shall not be retroactive so as to create any right or liability which did not exist under the Constitution of 1885, as amended, based upon matters occurring prior to the adoption of this revision.
SECTION 8. Public debts recognized.

All bonds, revenue certificates, revenue bonds and tax anticipation certificates issued pursuant to the Constitution of 1885, as amended by the state, any agency, political subdivision or public corporation of the state shall remain in full force and effect and shall be secured by the same sources of revenue as before the adoption of this revision, and, to the extent necessary to effectuate this section, the applicable provisions of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, are retained as a part of this revision until payment in full of these public securities.

SECTION 9. Bonds.
  1. ADDITIONAL SECURITIES.
    1. Article IX, Section 17, of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, as it existed immediately before this Constitution, as revised in 1968, became effective, is adopted by this reference as a part of this revision as completely as though incorporated herein verbatim, except revenue bonds, revenue certificates or other evidences of indebtedness hereafter issued thereunder may be issued by the agency of the state so authorized by law.
    2. That portion of Article XII, Section 9, Subsection (a) of this Constitution, as amended, which by reference adopted Article XII, Section 19 of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, as the same existed immediately before the effective date of this amendment is adopted by this reference as part of this revision as completely as though incorporated herein verbatim, for the purpose of providing that after the effective date of this amendment all of the proceeds of the revenues derived from the gross receipts taxes, as therein defined, collected in each year shall be applied as provided therein to the extent necessary to comply with all obligations to or for the benefit of holders of bonds or certificates issued before the effective date of this amendment or any refundings thereof which are secured by such gross receipts taxes. No bonds or other obligations may be issued pursuant to the provisions of Article XII, Section 19, of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, but this provision shall not be construed to prevent the refunding of any such outstanding bonds or obligations pursuant to the provisions of this subsection (a)(2).

      Subject to the requirements of the first paragraph of this subsection (a)(2), beginning July 1, 1975, all of the proceeds of the revenues derived from the gross receipts taxes collected from every person, including municipalities, as provided and levied pursuant to the provisions of chapter 203, Florida Statutes, as such chapter is amended from time to time, shall, as collected, be placed in a trust fund to be known as the "public education capital outlay and debt service trust fund" in the state treasury (hereinafter referred to as "capital outlay fund"), and used only as provided herein.

      The capital outlay fund shall be administered by the state board of education as created and constituted by Section 2 of Article IX of the Constitution of Florida as revised in 1968 (hereinafter referred to as "state board"), or by such other instrumentality of the state which shall hereafter succeed by law to the powers, duties and functions of the state board, including the powers, duties and functions of the state board provided in this subsection (a)(2). The state board shall be a body corporate and shall have all the powers provided herein in addition to all other constitutional and statutory powers related to the purposes of this subsection (a)(2) heretofore or hereafter conferred by law upon the state board, or its predecessor created by the Constitution of 1885, as amended.

      State bonds pledging the full faith and credit of the state may be issued, without a vote of the electors, by the state board pursuant to law to finance or refinance capital projects theretofore authorized by the legislature, and any purposes appurtenant or incidental thereto, for the state system of public education provided for in Section 1 of Article IX of this Constitution (hereinafter referred to as "state system"), including but not limited to institutions of higher learning, community colleges, vocational technical schools, or public schools, as now defined or as may hereafter be defined by law. All such bonds shall mature not later than thirty years after the date of issuance thereof. All other details of such bonds shall be as provided by law or by the proceedings authorizing such bonds; provided, however, that no bonds, except refunding bonds, shall be issued, and no proceeds shall be expended for the cost of any capital project, unless such project has been authorized by the legislature.

      Bonds issued pursuant to this subsection (a)(2) shall be primarily payable from such revenues derived from gross receipts taxes, and shall be additionally secured by the full faith and credit of the state. No such bonds shall ever be issued in an amount exceeding ninety percent of the amount which the state board determines can be serviced by the revenues derived from the gross receipts taxes accruing thereafter under the provisions of this subsection (a)(2), and such determination shall be conclusive.

      The moneys in the capital outlay fund in each fiscal year shall be used only for the following purposes and in the following order of priority:
      1. For the payment of the principal of and interest on any bonds due in such fiscal year;
      2. For the deposit into any reserve funds provided for in the proceedings authorizing the issuance of bonds of any amounts required to be deposited in such reserve funds in such fiscal year;
      3. For direct payment of the cost or any part of the cost of any capital project for the state system theretofore authorized by the legislature, or for the purchase or redemption of outstanding bonds in accordance with the provisions of the proceedings which authorized the issuance of such bonds, or for the purpose of maintaining, restoring, or repairing existing public educational facilities.
  2. REFUNDING BONDS. Revenue bonds to finance the cost of state capital projects issued prior to the date this revision becomes effective, including projects of the Florida state turnpike authority or its successor but excluding all portions of the state highway system, may be refunded as provided by law without vote of the electors at a lower net average interest cost rate by the issuance of bonds maturing not later than the obligations refunded, secured by the same revenues only.
  3. MOTOR VEHICLE FUEL TAXES.
    1. A state tax, designated "second gas tax," of two cents per gallon upon gasoline and other like products of petroleum and an equivalent tax upon other sources of energy used to propel motor vehicles as levied by Article IX, Section 16, of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, is hereby continued. The proceeds of said tax shall be placed monthly in the state roads distribution fund in the state treasury.
    2. Article IX, Section 16, of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, is adopted by this reference as a part of this revision as completely as though incorporated herein verbatim for the purpose of providing that after the effective date of this revision the proceeds of the "second gas tax" as referred to therein shall be allocated among the several counties in accordance with the formula stated therein to the extent necessary to comply with all obligations to or for the benefit of holders of bonds, revenue certificates and tax anticipation certificates or any refundings thereof secured by any portion of the "second gas tax."
    3. No funds anticipated to be allocated under the formula stated in Article IX, Section 16, of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, shall be pledged as security for any obligation hereafter issued or entered into, except that any outstanding obligations previously issued pledging revenues allocated under said Article IX, Section 16, may be refunded at a lower average net interest cost rate by the issuance of refunding bonds, maturing not later than the obligations refunded, secured by the same revenues and any other security authorized in paragraph (5) of this subsection.
    4. Subject to the requirements of paragraph (2) of this subsection and after payment of administrative expenses, the "second gas tax" shall be allocated to the account of each of the several counties in the amounts to be determined as follows: There shall be an initial allocation of one-fourth in the ratio of county area to state area, one-fourth in the ratio of the total county population to the total population of the state in accordance with the latest available federal census, and one-half in the ratio of the total "second gas tax" collected on retail sales or use in each county to the total collected in all counties of the state during the previous fiscal year. If the annual debt service requirements of any obligations issued for any county, including any deficiencies for prior years, secured under paragraph (2) of this subsection, exceeds the amount which would be allocated to that county under the formula set out in this paragraph, the amounts allocated to other counties shall be reduced proportionately.
    5. Funds allocated under paragraphs (2) and (4) of this subsection shall be administered by the state board of administration created under Article IV, Section 4. The board shall remit the proceeds of the "second gas tax" in each county account for use in said county as follows: eighty per cent to the state agency supervising the state road system and twenty per cent to the governing body of the county. The percentage allocated to the county may be increased by general law. The proceeds of the "second gas tax" subject to allocation to the several counties under this paragraph (5) shall be used first, for the payment of obligations pledging revenues allocated pursuant to Article IX, Section 16, of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, and any refundings thereof; second, for the payment of debt service on bonds issued as provided by this paragraph (5) to finance the acquisition and construction of roads as defined by law; and third, for the acquisition and construction of roads and for road maintenance as authorized by law. When authorized by law, state bonds pledging the full faith and credit of the state may be issued without any election: (i) to refund obligations secured by any portion of the "second gas tax" allocated to a county under Article IX, Section 16, of the Constitution of 1885, as amended; (ii) to finance the acquisition and construction of roads in a county when approved by the governing body of the county and the state agency supervising the state road system; and (iii) to refund obligations secured by any portion of the "second gas tax" allocated under paragraph 9(c)(4). No such bonds shall be issued unless a state fiscal agency created by law has made a determination that in no state fiscal year will the debt service requirements of the bonds and all other bonds secured by the pledged portion of the "second gas tax" allocated to the county exceed seventy-five per cent of the pledged portion of the "second gas tax" allocated to that county for the preceding state fiscal year, of the pledged net tolls from existing facilities collected in the preceding state fiscal year, and of the annual average net tolls anticipated during the first five state fiscal years of operation of new projects to be financed, and of any other legally available pledged revenues collected in the preceding state fiscal year. Bonds issued pursuant to this subsection shall be payable primarily from the pledged tolls, the pledged portions of the "second gas tax" allocated to that county, and any other pledged revenue, and shall mature not later than forty years from the date of issuance.
  4. SCHOOL BONDS.
    1. Article XII, Section 9, Subsection (d) of this constitution, as amended, (which, by reference, adopted Article XII, Section 18, of the Constitution of 1885, as amended) as the same existed immediately before the effective date of this amendment is adopted by this reference as part of this amendment as completely as though incorporated herein verbatim, for the purpose of providing that after the effective date of this amendment the first proceeds of the revenues derived from the licensing of motor vehicles as referred to therein shall be distributed annually among the several counties in the ratio of the number of instruction units in each county, the same being coterminus with the school district of each county as provided in Article IX, Section 4, Subsection (a) of this constitution, in each year computed as provided therein to the extent necessary to comply with all obligations to or for the benefit of holders of bonds or motor vehicle tax anticipation certificates issued before the effective date of this amendment or any refundings thereof which are secured by any portion of such revenues derived from the licensing of motor vehicles.
    2. No funds anticipated to be distributed annually among the several counties under the formula stated in Article XII, Section 9, Subsection (d) of this constitution, as amended, as the same existed immediately before the effective date of this amendment shall be pledged as security for any obligations hereafter issued or entered into, except that any outstanding obligations previously issued pledging such funds may be refunded by the issuance of refunding bonds.
    3. Subject to the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection (d) beginning July 1, 1973, the first proceeds of the revenues derived from the licensing of motor vehicles (hereinafter called "motor vehicle license revenues") to the extent necessary to comply with the provisions of this amendment, shall, as collected, be placed monthly in the school district and community college district capital outlay and debt service fund in the state treasury and used only as provided in this amendment. Such revenue shall be distributed annually among the several school districts and community college districts in the ratio of the number of instruction units in each school district or community college district in each year computed as provided herein. The amount of the first motor vehicle license revenues to be so set aside in each year and distributed as provided herein shall be an amount equal in the aggregate to the product of six hundred dollars ($600) multiplied by the total number of instruction units in all the school districts of Florida for the school fiscal year 1967-68, plus an amount equal in the aggregate to the product of eight hundred dollars ($800) multiplied by the total number of instruction units in all the school districts of Florida for the school fiscal year 1972-73 and for each school fiscal year thereafter which is in excess of the total number of such instruction units in all the school districts of Florida for the school fiscal year 1967-68, such excess units being designated "growth units." The amount of the first motor vehicle license revenues to be so set aside in each year and distributed as provided herein shall additionally be an amount equal in the aggregate to the product of four hundred dollars ($400) multiplied by the total number of instruction units in all community college districts of Florida. The number of instruction units in each school district or community college district in each year for the purposes of this amendment shall be the greater of (1) the number of instruction units in each school district for the school fiscal year 1967-68 or community college district for the school fiscal year 1968-69 computed in the manner heretofore provided by general law, or (2) the number of instruction units in such school district, including growth units, or community college district for the school fiscal year computed in the manner heretofore or hereafter provided by general law and approved by the state board of education (hereinafter called the state board), or (3) the number of instruction units in each school district, including growth units, or community college district on behalf of which the state board has issued bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates under this amendment which will produce sufficient revenues under this amendment to equal one and twelve-hundredths (1.12) times the aggregate amount of principal of and interest on all bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates issued under this amendment which will mature and become due in such year, computed in the manner heretofore or hereafter provided by general law and approved by the state board.
    4. Such funds so distributed shall be administered by the state board as now created and constituted by Section 2 of Article IX of the State Constitution as revised in 1968, or by such other instrumentality of the state which shall hereafter succeed by law to the powers, duties and functions of the state board, including the powers, duties and functions of the state board provided in this amendment. For the purposes of this amendment, said state board shall be a body corporate and shall have all the powers provided in this amendment in addition to all other constitutional and statutory powers related to the purposes of this amendment heretofore or hereafter conferred upon said state board.
    5. The state board shall, in addition to its other constitutional and statutory powers, have the management, control and supervision of the proceeds of the first motor vehicle license revenues provided for in this subsection (d). The state board shall also have power, for the purpose of obtaining funds for the use of any school board of any school district or board of trustees of any community college district in acquiring, building, constructing, altering, remodeling, improving, enlarging, furnishing, equipping, maintaining, renovating, or repairing of capital outlay projects for school purposes to issue bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates, and also to issue such bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates to pay, fund or refund any bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates theretofore issued by said state board. All such bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates shall bear interest at not exceeding the rate provided by general law and shall mature not later than thirty years after the date of issuance thereof. The state board shall have power to determine all other details of the bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates and to sell in the manner provided by general law, or exchange the bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates, upon such terms and conditions as the state board shall provide.
    6. The state board shall also have power to pledge for the payment of the principal of and interest on such bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates, including refunding bonds or refunding motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates, all or any part from the motor vehicle license revenues provided for in this amendment and to enter into any covenants and other agreements with the holders of such bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates at the time of the issuance thereof concerning the security thereof and the rights of the holders thereof, all of which covenants and agreements shall constitute legally binding and irrevocable contracts with such holders and shall be fully enforceable by such holders in any court of competent jurisdiction.
    7. No such bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates shall ever be issued by the state board, except to refund outstanding bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates, until after the adoption of a resolution requesting the issuance thereof by the school board of the school district or board of trustees of the community college district on behalf of which the obligations are to be issued. The state board of education shall limit the amount of such bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates which can be issued on behalf of any school district or community college district to ninety percent (90%) of the amount which it determines can be serviced by the revenue accruing to the school district or community college district under the provisions of this amendment, and shall determine the reasonable allocation of the interest savings from the issuance of refunding bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates, and such determinations shall be conclusive. All such bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates shall be issued in the name of the state board of education but shall be issued for and on behalf of the school board of the school district or board of trustees of the community college district requesting the issuance thereof, and no election or approval of qualified electors shall be required for the issuance thereof.
    8. The state board shall in each year use the funds distributable pursuant to this amendment to the credit of each school district or community college district only in the following manner and in order of priority:
      1. To comply with the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection (d).
      2. To pay all amounts of principal and interest due in such year on any bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates issued under the authority hereof, including refunding bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates, issued on behalf of the school board of such school district or board of trustees of such community college district; subject, however, to any covenants or agreements made by the state board concerning the rights between holders of different issues of such bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates, as herein authorized.
      3. To establish and maintain a sinking fund or funds to meet future requirements for debt service or reserves therefor, on bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates issued on behalf of the school board of such school district or board of trustees of such community college district under the authority hereof, whenever the state board shall deem it necessary or advisable, and in such amounts and under such terms and conditions as the state board shall in its discretion determine.
      4. To distribute annually to the several school boards of the school districts or the boards of trustees of the community college districts for use in payment of debt service on bonds heretofore or hereafter issued by any such school boards of the school districts or boards of trustees of the community college districts where the proceeds of the bonds were used, or are to be used, in the acquiring, building, constructing, altering, remodeling, improving, enlarging, furnishing, equipping, maintaining, renovating, or repairing of capital outlay projects in such school districts or community college districts and which capital outlay projects have been approved by the school board of the school district or board of trustees of the community college district, pursuant to the most recent survey or surveys conducted under regulations prescribed by the state board to determine the capital outlay needs of the school district or community college district. The state board shall have power at the time of issuance of any bonds by any school board of any school district or board of trustees of any community college district to covenant and agree with such school board or board of trustees as to the rank and priority of payments to be made for different issues of bonds under this subparagraph d., and may further agree that any amounts to be distributed under this subparagraph d. may be pledged for the debt service on bonds issued by any school board of any school district or board of trustees of any community college district and for the rank and priority of such pledge. Any such covenants or agreements of the state board may be enforced by any holders of such bonds in any court of competent jurisdiction.
      5. To pay the expenses of the state board in administering this subsection (d), which shall be prorated among the various school districts and community college districts and paid out of the proceeds of the bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates or from the funds distributable to each school district and community college district on the same basis as such motor vehicle license revenues are distributable to the various school districts and community college districts.
      6. To distribute annually to the several school boards of the school districts or boards of trustees of the community college districts for the payment of the cost of acquiring, building, constructing, altering, remodeling, improving, enlarging, furnishing, equipping, maintaining, renovating, or repairing of capital outlay projects for school purposes in such school district or community college district as shall be requested by resolution of the school board of the school district or board of trustees of the community college district.
      7. When all major capital outlay needs of a school district or community college district have been met as determined by the state board, on the basis of a survey made pursuant to regulations of the state board and approved by the state board, all such funds remaining shall be distributed annually and used for such school purposes in such school district or community college district as the school board of the school district or board of trustees of the community college district shall determine, or as may be provided by general law.
    9. Capital outlay projects of a school district or community college district shall be eligible to participate in the funds accruing under this amendment and derived from the proceeds of bonds and motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates and from the motor vehicle license revenues, only in the order of priority of needs, as shown by a survey or surveys conducted in the school district or community college district under regulations prescribed by the state board, to determine the capital outlay needs of the school district or community college district and approved by the state board; provided that the priority of such projects may be changed from time to time upon the request of the school board of the school district or board of trustees of the community college district and with the approval of the state board; and provided, further, that this paragraph (9) shall not in any manner affect any covenant, agreement or pledge made by the state board in the issuance by said state board of any bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates, or in connection with the issuance of any bonds of any school board of any school district or board of trustees of any community college district.
    10. The state board shall have power to make and enforce all rules and regulations necessary to the full exercise of the powers herein granted and no legislation shall be required to render this amendment of full force and operating effect. The legislature shall not reduce the levies of said motor vehicle license revenues during the life of this amendment to any degree which will fail to provide the full amount necessary to comply with the provisions of this amendment and pay the necessary expenses of administering the laws relating to the licensing of motor vehicles, and shall not enact any law having the effect of withdrawing the proceeds of such motor vehicle license revenues from the operation of this amendment and shall not enact any law impairing or materially altering the rights of the holders of any bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates issued pursuant to this amendment or impairing or altering any covenant or agreement of the state board, as provided in such bonds or motor vehicle license revenue anticipation certificates.
    11. Bonds issued by the state board pursuant to this subsection (d) shall be payable primarily from said motor vehicle license revenues as provided herein, and if heretofore or hereafter authorized by law, may be additionally secured by pledging the full faith and credit of the state without an election. When heretofore or hereafter authorized by law, bonds issued pursuant to Article XII, Section 18 of the Constitution of 1885, as amended prior to 1968, and bonds issued pursuant to Article XII, Section 9, subsection (d) of the Constitution as revised in 1968, and bonds issued pursuant to this subsection (d), may be refunded by the issuance of bonds additionally secured by the full faith and credit of the state.
  5. DEBT LIMITATION. Bonds issued pursuant to this Section 9 of Article XII which are payable primarily from revenues pledged pursuant to this section shall not be included in applying the limits upon the amount of state bonds contained in Section 11, Article VII, of this revision.
SECTION 10. Preservation of existing government.

All provisions of Articles I through IV, VII and IX through XX of the Constitution of 1885, as amended, not embraced herein which are not inconsistent with this revision shall become statutes subject to modification or repeal as are other statutes.

SECTION 11. Deletion of obsolete schedule items.

The legislature shall have power, by joint resolution, to delete from this revision any section of this Article XII, including this section, when all events to which the section to be deleted is or could become applicable have occurred. A legislative determination of fact made as a basis for application of this section shall be subject to judicial review.

SECTION 12. Senators.

The requirements of staggered terms of senators in Section 15(a), of Article III of this revision shall apply only to senators elected in November, 1972, and thereafter.

SECTION 13. Legislative apportionment.

The requirements of legislative apportionment in Section 16 of Article III of this revision shall apply only to the apportionment of the legislature following the decennial census of 1970, and thereafter.

SECTION 14. Representatives; terms.

The legislature at its first regular session following the ratification of this revision, by joint resolution, shall propose to the electors of the state for ratification or rejection in the general election of 1970 an amendment to Article III, Section 15(b), of the constitution providing staggered terms of four years for members of the house of representatives.

SECTION 15. Special district taxes.

Ad valorem taxing power vested by law in special districts existing when this revision becomes effective shall not be abrogated by Section 9(b) of Article VII herein, but such powers, except to the extent necessary to pay outstanding debts, may be restricted or withdrawn by law.

SECTION 16. Reorganization.

The requirement of Section 6, Article IV of this revision shall not apply until July 1, 1969.

SECTION 17. Conflicting provisions.

This schedule is designed to effect the orderly transition of government from the Constitution of 1885, as amended, to this revision and shall control in all cases of conflict with any part of Article I through IV, VII, and IX through XI herein.

SECTION 18. Bonds for housing and related facilities.

Section 16 of Article VII, providing for bonds for housing and related facilities, shall take effect upon approval by the electors.

SECTION 19. Renewable energy source property.

The amendment to Section 3 of Article VII, relating to an exemption for a renewable energy source device and real property on which such device is installed, if adopted at the special election in October 1980, shall take effect January 1, 1981.

SECTION 20. Access to public records.

Section 24 of Article I, relating to access to public records, shall take effect July 1, 1993.

SECTION 21. State revenue limitation.

The amendment to Section 1 of Article VII limiting state revenues shall take effect January 1, 1995, and shall first be applicable to state fiscal year 1995-1996.

SECTION 22. Historic property exemption and assessment.

The amendments to Sections 3 and 4 of Article VII relating to ad valorem tax exemption for, and assessment of, historic property shall take effect January 1, 1999.

SECTION 23. Fish and wildlife conservation commission.
  1. The initial members of the commission shall be the members of the game and fresh water fish commission and the marine fisheries commission who are serving on those commissions on the effective date of this amendment, who may serve the remainder of their respective terms. New appointments to the commission shall not be made until the retirement, resignation, removal, or expiration of the terms of the initial members results in fewer than seven members remaining.
  2. The jurisdiction of the marine fisheries commission as set forth in statutes in effect on March 1, 1998, shall be transferred to the fish and wildlife conservation commission. The jurisdiction of the marine fisheries commission transferred to the commission shall not be expanded except as provided by general law. All rules of the marine fisheries commission and game and fresh water fish commission in effect on the effective date of this amendment shall become rules of the fish and wildlife conservation commission until superseded or amended by the commission.
  3. On the effective date of this amendment, the marine fisheries commission and game and fresh water fish commission shall be abolished.
  4. This amendment shall take effect July 1, 1999.
SECTION 24. Executive branch reform.
  1. The amendments contained in this revision shall take effect January 7, 2003, but shall govern with respect to the qualifying for and the holding of primary elections in 2002. The office of chief financial officer shall be a new office as a result of this revision.
  2. In the event the secretary of state is removed as a cabinet office in the 1998 general election, the term "custodian of state records" shall be substituted for the term "secretary of state" throughout the constitution and the duties previously performed by the secretary of state shall be as provided by law.
SECTION 25. Schedule to Article V amendment.
  1. Commencing with fiscal year 2000-2001, the legislature shall appropriate funds to pay for the salaries, costs, and expenses set forth in the amendment to Section 14 of Article V pursuant to a phase-in schedule established by general law.
  2. Unless otherwise provided herein, the amendment to Section 14 shall be fully effectuated by July 1, 2004.
SECTION 26. Increased homestead exemption.

The amendment to Section 6 of Article VII increasing the maximum additional amount of the homestead exemption for low-income seniors shall take effect January 1, 2007.

SECTION 27. Property tax exemptions and limitations on property tax assessments.

The amendments to Sections 3, 4, and 6 of Article VII, providing a $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property, providing an additional $25,000 homestead exemption, authorizing transfer of the accrued benefit from the limitations on the assessment of homestead property, and this section, if submitted to the electors of this state for approval or rejection at a special election authorized by law to be held on January 29, 2008, shall take effect upon approval by the electors and shall operate retroactively to January 1, 2008, or, if submitted to the electors of this state for approval or rejection at the next general election, shall take effect January 1 of the year following such general election. The amendments to Section 4 of Article VII creating subsections (f) and (g) of that section, creating a limitation on annual assessment increases for specified real property, shall take effect upon approval of the electors and shall first limit assessments beginning January 1, 2009, if approved at a special election held on January 29, 2008, or shall first limit assessments beginning January 1, 2010, if approved at the general election held in November of 2008. Subsections (f) and (g) of Section 4 of Article VII are repealed effective January 1, 2019; however, the legislature shall by joint resolution propose an amendment abrogating the repeal of subsections (f) and (g), which shall be submitted to the electors of this state for approval or rejection at the general election of 2018 and, if approved, shall take effect January 1, 2019.

SECTION 28. Property tax exemption and classification and assessment of land used for conservation purposes.

The amendment to Section 3 of Article VII requiring the creation of an ad valorem tax exemption for real property dedicated in perpetuity for conservation purposes, and the amendment to Section 4 of Article VII requiring land used for conservation purposes to be classified by general law and assessed solely on the basis of character or use for purposes of ad valorem taxation, shall take effect upon approval by the electors and shall be implemented by January 1, 2010. This section shall take effect upon approval of the electors.

SECTION 29. Limitation on the assessed value of real property used for residential purposes.
  1. The repeal of the renewable energy source property tax exemption in Section 3 of Article VII shall take effect upon approval by the voters.
  2. The amendment to Section 4 of Article VII authorizing the legislature to prohibit an increase in the assessed value of real property used for residential purposes as the result of improving the property's resistance to wind damage or installing a renewable energy source device shall take effect January 1, 2009.
SECTION 30. Assessment of working waterfront property.

The amendment to Section 4 of Article VII providing for the assessment of working waterfront property based on current use, and this section, shall take effect upon approval by the electors and shall first apply to assessments for tax years beginning January 1, 2010.

SECTION 31. Additional ad valorem tax exemption for certain members of the armed forces deployed on active duty outside of the United States.

The amendment to Section 3 of Article VII providing for an additional ad valorem tax exemption for members of the United States military or military reserves, the United States Coast Guard or its reserves, or the Florida National Guard deployed on active duty outside of the United States in support of military operations designated by the legislature and this section shall take effect January 1, 2011.

SECTION 32. Veterans disabled due to combat injury; homestead property tax discount.

The amendment to subsection (e) of Section 6 of Article VII relating to the homestead property tax discount for veterans who became disabled as the result of a combat injury shall take effect January 1, 2013.

SECTION 33. Ad valorem tax relief for surviving spouses of veterans who died from service-connected causes and first responders who died in the line of duty.

This section and the amendment to Section 6 of Article VII permitting the legislature to provide ad valorem tax relief to surviving spouses of veterans who died from service-connected causes and first responders who died in the line of duty shall take effect January 1, 2013.

SECTION 34. Solar devices or renewable energy source devices; exemption from certain taxation and assessment.

This section, the amendment to subsection (e) of Section 3 of Article VII authorizing the legislature, subject to limitations set forth in general law, to exempt the assessed value of solar devices or renewable energy source devices subject to tangible personal property tax from ad valorem taxation, and the amendment to subsection (i) of Section 4 of Article VII authorizing the legislature, by general law, to prohibit the consideration of the installation of a solar device or a renewable energy source device in determining the assessed value of real property for the purpose of ad valorem taxation shall take effect on January 1, 2018, and shall expire on December 31, 2037. Upon expiration, this section shall be repealed and the text of subsection (e) of Section 3 of Article VII and subsection (i) of Section 4 of Article VII shall revert to that in existence on December 31, 2017, except that any amendments to such text otherwise adopted shall be preserved and continue to operate to the extent that such amendments are not dependent upon the portions of text which expire pursuant to this section.

SECTION 35. Tax exemption for totally and permanently disabled first responders.

The amendment to Section 6 of Article VII relating to relief from ad valorem taxes assessed on homestead property for first responders, who are totally and permanently disabled as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty, takes effect January 1, 2017.

SECTION 36. Additional ad valorem exemption for persons age sixty-five or older.

This section and the amendment to Section 6 of Article VII revising the just value determination for the additional ad valorem tax exemption for persons age sixty-five or older shall take effect January 1, 2017, following approval by the electors, and shall operate retroactively to January 1, 2013, for any person who received the exemption under paragraph (2) of Section 6(d) of Article VII before January 1, 2017.

NEW ARTICLE

Title: CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES

Section 1. Natural resources and scenic beauty.

(a) It shall be the policy of the state to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty. Adequate provision shall be made by law for the abatement of air and water pollution and of excessive and unnecessary noise and for the conservation and protection of natural resources.

(b) Those in the Everglades Agricultural Area who cause water pollution within the Everglades Protection Area or the Everglades Agricultural Area shall be primarily responsible for paying the costs of the abatement of that pollution. For the purposes of this subsection, the terms "Everglades Protection Area" and "Everglades Agricultural Area" shall have the meanings as defined in statutes in effect on January 1, 1996.

 

Section 2. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

(a) There shall be a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, composed of seven members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Legislature for staggered terms of five years.

(b) The Commission shall exercise the regulatory and executive powers of the State with respect to wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life, and shall also exercise regulatory and executive powers of the State with respect to marine life, except that all license fees for taking wild animal life, fresh water aquatic life, and marine life and penalties for violating regulations of the Commission shall be prescribed by general law.

(c) The Commission shall establish procedures to ensure adequate due process in the exercise of its regulatory and executive functions. The Legislature may enact laws in aid of the Commission, not inconsistent with this section, except that there shall be no special law or general law of local application pertaining to hunting or fishing. The Commission's exercise of executive powers in the area of planning, budgeting, personnel management, and purchasing shall be as provided by law. Revenue derived from license fees for the taking of wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life shall be appropriated to the Commission by the Legislature for the purposes of management, protection, and conservation of wild animal life and fresh water aquatic life. Revenue derived from license fees relating to marine life shall be appropriated by the Legislature for the purposes of management, protection, and conservation of marine life as provided by law. The Commission shall not be a unit of any other state agency and shall have its own staff, which includes management, research, and enforcement. Unless provided by general law, the Commission shall have no authority to regulate matters relating to air and water pollution.

 

Section 3. Bonds for pollution control and abatement and other water facilities.

(a) When authorized by law, state bonds pledging the full faith and credit of the state may be issued without an election to finance the construction of air and water pollution control and abatement and solid waste disposal facilities and other water facilities authorized by general law (herein referred to as "facilities") to be operated by any municipality, county, district or authority, or any agency thereof (herein referred to as "local governmental agencies"), or by any agency of the State of Florida. Such bonds shall be secured by a pledge of and shall be payable primarily from all or any part of revenues to be derived from operation of such facilities, special assessments, rentals to be received under lease-purchase agreements herein provided for, any other revenues that may be legally available for such purpose, including revenues from other facilities, or any combination thereof (herein collectively referred to as "pledged revenues"), and shall be additionally secured by the full faith and credit of the State of Florida.

(b) No such bonds shall be issued unless a state fiscal agency, created by law, has made a determination that in no state fiscal year will the debt service requirements of the bonds proposed to be issued and all other bonds secured by the pledged revenues exceed 75% of the pledged revenues.

(c) The state may lease any of such facilities to any local governmental agency, under lease-purchase agreements for such periods and under such other terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed upon. The local governmental agencies may pledge the revenues derived from such leased facilities or any other available funds for the payment of rentals thereunder; and, in addition, the full faith and credit and taxing power of such local governmental agencies may be pledged for the payment of such rentals without any election of freeholder electors or qualified electors.

(d) The state may also issue such bonds for the purpose of loaning money to local governmental agencies, for the construction of such facilities to be owned or operated by any of such local governmental agencies. Such loans shall bear interest at not more than one-half of one per cent per annum greater than the last preceding issue of state bonds pursuant to this section, shall be secured by the pledged revenues, and may be additionally secured by the full faith and credit of the local governmental agencies.

(e) The total outstanding principal of state bonds issued pursuant to this section shall never exceed 50% of the total tax revenues of the state for the two preceding fiscal years.

 

Section 4. Limits on marine net fishing.

 

  1. The marine resources of the State of Florida belong to all of the people of the state and should be conserved and managed for the benefit of the state, its people, and future generations. To this end the people hereby enact limitations on marine net fishing in Florida waters to protect saltwater finfish, shellfish, and other marine animals from unnecessary killing, overfishing and waste.
  2. For the purpose of catching or taking any saltwater finfish, shellfish or other marine animals in Florida waters:
    1. No gill nets or other entangling nets shall be used in any Florida waters; and
    2. In addition to the prohibition set forth in (1), no other type of net containing more than 500 square feet of mesh area shall be used in nearshore and inshore Florida waters. Additionally, no more than two such nets, which shall not be connected, shall be used from any vessel, and no person not on a vessel shall use more than one such net in nearshore and inshore Florida waters.
  3. For purposes of this section:
    1. "gill net" means one or more walls of netting which captures saltwater finfish by ensnaring or entangling them in the meshes of the net by the gills, and "entangling net" means a drift net, trammell net, stab net, or any other net which captures saltwater finfish, shellfish, or other marine animals by causing all or part of heads, fins, legs, or other body parts to become entangled or ensnared in the meshes of the net, but a hand thrown cast net is not a gill net or an entangling net;
    2. "mesh area" of a net means the total area of netting with the meshes open to comprise the maximum square footage. The square footage shall be calculated using standard mathematical formulas for geometric shapes. Seines and other rectangular nets shall be calculated using the maximum length and maximum width of the netting. Trawls and other bag type nets shall be calculated as a cone using the maximum circumference of the net mouth to derive the radius, and the maximum length from the net mouth to the tail end of the net to derive the slant height. Calculations for any other nets or combination type nets shall be based on the shapes of the individual components;
    3. "coastline" means the territorial sea base line for the State of Florida established pursuant to the laws of the United States of America;
    4. "Florida waters" means the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, and any other bodies of water under the jurisdiction of the State of Florida, whether coastal, intracoastal or inland, and any part thereof; and
    5. "nearshore and inshore Florida waters" means all Florida waters inside a line three miles seaward of the coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and inside a line one mile seaward of the coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.
  4. This section shall not apply to the use of nets for scientific research or governmental purposes.
  5. Persons violating this section shall be prosecuted and punished pursuant to the law.
  6. It is the intent of this section that implementing legislation is not required for enforcing any violations hereof, but nothing in this section prohibits the establishment by law or pursuant to law of more restrictions on the use of nets for the purpose of catching or taking any saltwater finfish, shellfish, or other marine animals.
  7. If any portion of this section is held invalid for any reason, the remaining portion of this section, to the fullest extent possible, shall be severed from the void portion and given the fullest possible force and application.

 

Section 5. Everglades Trust Fund.

 

  1. There is hereby established the Everglades Trust Fund, which shall not be subject to termination pursuant to Article III, Section 19(f). The purpose of the Everglades Trust Fund is to make funds available to assist in conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of water pollution in the Everglades Protection Area and the Everglades Agricultural Area. The trust fund shall be administered by the South Florida Water Management District, or its successor agency, consistent with statutory law.
  2. The Everglades Trust Fund may receive funds from any source, including gifts from individuals, corporations or other entities; funds from general revenue as determined by the Legislature; and any other funds so designated by the Legislature, by the United States Congress or by any other governmental entity.
  3. Funds deposited to the Everglades Trust Fund shall be expended for purposes of conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of water pollution in the Everglades Protection Area and Everglades Agricultural Area.
  4. For purposes of this subsection, the terms "Everglades Protection Area," "Everglades Agricultural Area" and "South Florida Water Management District" shall have the meanings as defined in statutes in effect on January 1, 1996.

 

Section 6. Disposition of conservation lands.

The fee interest in real property held by an entity of the state and designated for natural resources conservation purposes as provided by general law shall be managed for the benefit of the citizens of this state and may be disposed of only if the members of the governing board of the entity holding title determine the property is no longer needed for conservation purposes and only upon a vote of two-thirds of the governing board.

 

Section 7. Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

 

  1. Effective on July 1 of the year following passage of this amendment by the voters, and for a period of 20 years after that effective date, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall receive no less than 33 percent of net revenues derived from the existing excise tax on documents, as defined in the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, as amended from time to time, or any successor or replacement tax, after the Department of Revenue first deducts a service charge to pay the costs of the collection and enforcement of the excise tax on documents.
  2. Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes:
    1. As provided by law, to finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land, water areas, and related property interests, including conservation easements, and resources for conservation lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat; wildlife management areas; lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II, Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space; rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational enjoyment of conservation lands.
    2. To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to Article VII, Section 11(e).
  3. The moneys deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as defined by the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, shall not be or become commingled with the general revenue fund of the state.

 

 

NEW ARTICLE

Title: ARTICLE V: JUDICIARY

SECTION 1. Courts.

(a) COURTS ESTABLISHED. The judicial power of the State of Florida shall be vested in a Supreme Court, District Courts of Appeal, Circuit Courts, Environmental Courts, and County Courts. No other courts may be established by the state, any political subdivision or any municipality.

(b) APPELLATE DISTRICTS; JUDICIAL CIRCUITS. The legislature shall, by general law, divide the state into appellate court districts and judicial circuits following county lines.

(c) COMMISSIONS; OFFICERS. Commissions established by law, or administrative officers or bodies may be granted quasi-judicial power in matters connected with the functions of their offices. The legislature may establish by general law a civil traffic hearing officer system for the purpose of hearing civil traffic infractions.

(d) COURT-MARTIAL. The legislature may, by general law, authorize a military court-martial to be conducted by military judges of the Florida National Guard, with direct appeal of a decision to the District Court of Appeal, First District.

 

SECTION 2. Administration; practice and procedure.

(a) ADMINISTRATION; PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE. The Supreme Court shall adopt rules for the practice and procedure in all courts including the time for seeking appellate review, the administrative supervision of all courts, the transfer to the court having jurisdiction of any proceeding when the jurisdiction of another court has been improvidently invoked, and a requirement that no cause shall be dismissed because an improper remedy has been sought. The Supreme Court shall adopt rules to allow the court and the District Courts of Appeal to submit questions relating to military law to the federal Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for an advisory opinion. Rules of court may be repealed by general law enacted by two-thirds vote of the membership of the legislature.

(b) CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall be elected by a majority of the members of the court for a term of two years; shall be the chief administrative officer of the judicial system; and shall have the power to assign justices or judges, to temporary duty in any court for which the judge is qualified and to delegate to a chief judge of a judicial circuit the power to assign judges for duty in that circuit.

(c) CHIEF JUDGES.

(1) A chief judge for each District Court of Appeal shall be chosen by a majority of the judges thereof or, if there is no majority, by the chief justice. The chief judge shall be responsible for the administrative supervision of the court.

(2) A chief judge in each circuit shall be chosen from among the circuit judges as provided by Supreme Court rule. The chief judge shall be responsible for the administrative supervision of the circuit courts, environmental courts, and county courts in his circuit.

 

SECTION 3. Supreme Court.

(a) ORGANIZATION. The Supreme Court shall consist of nine justices. The legislature shall, by general law, divide the state into nine supreme court districts following county lines. Of the nine justices, each supreme court district shall have one justice elected or appointed from the district to the Supreme Court who is a resident of the district at the time of the original appointment or election. Five justices shall constitute a quorum. The concurrence of five justices shall be necessary to a decision. When recusals for cause would prohibit the court from convening because of the requirements of this section, judges assigned to temporary duty may be substituted for justices.

(b) JURISDICTION. The Supreme Court:

(1) shall hear appeals from final judgments of trial courts imposing the death penalty and from decisions of District Courts of Appeal declaring invalid a state statute or a provision of the state constitution.

(2) when provided by general law, shall hear appeals from final judgments entered in proceedings for the validation of bonds or certificates of indebtedness and shall review action of statewide agencies relating to rates or service of utilities providing electric, gas, or telephone service.

(3) may review any decision of a district court of appeal that expressly declares valid a state statute, or that expressly construes a provision of the state or federal constitution, or that expressly affects a class of constitutional or state officers, or that expressly and directly conflicts with a decision of another District Court of Appeal or of the Supreme Court on the same question of law.

(4) may review any decision of a District Court of Appeal that passes upon a question certified by it to be of great public importance, or that is certified by it to be in direct conflict with a decision of another District Court of Appeal.

(5) may review any order or judgment of a trial court certified by the District Court of Appeal in which an appeal is pending to be of great public importance, or to have a great effect on the proper administration of justice throughout the state, and certified to require immediate resolution by the Supreme Court.

(6) may review a question of law certified by the Supreme Court of the United States or a United States Court of Appeals which is determinative of the cause and for which there is no controlling precedent of the Supreme Court of Florida.

(7) may issue writs of prohibition to courts and all writs necessary to the complete exercise of its jurisdiction.

(8) may issue writs of mandamus and quo warranto to state officers and state agencies.

(9) may, or any justice may, issue writs of habeas corpus returnable before the Supreme Court or any justice, a District Court of Appeal or any judge thereof, or any circuit judge.

(10) shall, when requested by the Attorney-General pursuant to the provisions of Section 10 of Article IV, render an advisory opinion of the justices, addressing issues as provided by general law.

(c) CLERK AND MARSHAL. The Supreme Court shall appoint a clerk and a marshal who shall hold office during the pleasure of the court and perform such duties as the court directs. Their compensation shall be fixed by general law. The marshal shall have the power to execute the process of the court throughout the state, and in any county may deputize the sheriff or a deputy sheriff for such purpose.

 

SECTION 4. District Courts of Appeal.

(a) ORGANIZATION. There shall be a District Court of Appeal serving each appellate district. Each District Court of Appeal shall consist of at least five judges. Three judges shall consider each case and the concurrence of two shall be necessary to a decision.

(b) JURISDICTION.

(1) District Courts of Appeal shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals, that may be taken as a matter of right, from final judgments or orders of trial courts, including those entered on review of administrative action, not directly appealable to the Supreme Court or a circuit court. They may review interlocutory orders in such cases to the extent provided by rules adopted by the Supreme Court.

(2) District Courts of Appeal shall have the power of direct review of administrative action, as prescribed by general law.

(3) A District Court of Appeal or any judge thereof may issue writs of habeas corpus returnable before the court or any judge thereof or before any circuit judge within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. A District Court of Appeal may issue writs of mandamus, certiorari, prohibition, quo warranto, and other writs necessary to the complete exercise of its jurisdiction. To the extent necessary to dispose of all issues in a cause properly before it, a District Court of Appeal may exercise any of the appellate jurisdiction of the circuit courts.

(c) CLERKS AND MARSHALS. Each District Court of Appeal shall appoint a clerk and a marshal who shall hold office during the pleasure of the court and perform such duties as the court directs. Their compensation shall be fixed by general law. The marshal shall have the power to execute the process of the court throughout the territorial jurisdiction of the court, and in any county may deputize the sheriff or a deputy sheriff for such purpose.

 

SECTION 5. Circuit Courts.

(a) ORGANIZATION. There shall be a circuit court serving each judicial circuit.

(b) JURISDICTION. The circuit courts shall have original jurisdiction not vested in the environmental courts or county courts, and jurisdiction of appeals when provided by general law. They shall have the power to issue writs of mandamus, quo warranto, certiorari, prohibition and habeas corpus, and all writs necessary or proper to the complete exercise of their jurisdiction. Jurisdiction of the circuit court shall be uniform throughout the state. They shall have the power of direct review of administrative action prescribed by general law.

 

SECTION 6. Environmental Courts.

(a) ORGANIZATION. There shall be an environmental court serving each judicial circuit.

(b) JURISDICTION. The environmental courts shall have original jurisdiction not vested in the county courts, and jurisdiction of appeals when provided by general law. Jurisdiction of the environmental court shall be uniform throughout the state.

 

SECTION 7. County Courts.

(a) ORGANIZATION. There shall be a county court in each county. There shall be one or more judges for each county court as prescribed by general law.

(b) JURISDICTION. The county courts shall exercise the jurisdiction prescribed by general law. Such jurisdiction shall be uniform throughout the state.

 

SECTION 8. Specialized divisions.

All courts except the Supreme Court may sit in divisions as may be established by general law. A circuit, environmental, or county court may hold civil and criminal trials and hearings in any place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court as designated by the chief judge of the circuit.

 

SECTION 9. Eligibility.

(a) ELIGIBILITY; RETIREMENT. No person shall be eligible for office of justice or judge of any court unless the person is an elector of the state and resides in the territorial jurisdiction of the court. No justice or judge shall remain in office upon attaining the age of seventy-two years.

(b) APPELLATE COURTS. No person is eligible for the office of justice of the Supreme Court or judge of a District Court of Appeal unless the person is, and has been for the preceding ten years, a member of The Bar of Florida.

(c) CIRCUIT AND ENVIRONMENTAL COURTS. No person is eligible for the office of circuit judge or environmental judge unless the person is, and has been for the preceding five years, a member of The Bar of Florida.

(d) COUNTY COURTS.

(1) Unless otherwise provided by general law, no person is eligible for the office of county court judge unless the person is, and has been for the preceding five years, a member of The Bar of Florida.

(2) Unless otherwise provided by general law, a person shall be eligible for election or appointment to the office of county court judge in a county having a population of 40,000 or less if the person is a member in good standing of The Bar of Florida.

 

SECTION 10. Determination of number of judges.

The Supreme Court shall establish by rule uniform criteria for the determination of the need for additional judges except Supreme Court justices, the necessity for decreasing the number of judges and for increasing, decreasing or redefining appellate districts and judicial circuits; provided, however, there shall be no less than nine supreme court districts, no less than five appellate districts, and no less than fifteen judicial circuits. If the Supreme Court finds that a need exists for increasing or decreasing the number of judges or increasing, decreasing or redefining appellate districts and judicial circuits, it shall, prior to the next regular session of the legislature, certify to the legislature its findings and recommendations concerning such need. Upon receipt of such certificate, the legislature, at the next regular session, shall consider the findings and recommendations and may reject the recommendations or by law implement the recommendations in whole or in part; provided the legislature may create more judicial offices than are recommended by the Supreme Court or may decrease the number of judicial offices by a greater number than recommended by the court only upon a finding of two-thirds of the membership of the legislature, that such a need exists. A decrease in the number of judges shall be effective only after the expiration of a term. If the Supreme Court fails to make findings as provided above when need exists, the legislature may by concurrent resolution request the court to certify its findings and recommendations and upon the failure of the court to certify its findings for nine consecutive months, the legislature may, upon a finding of two-thirds of its membership that a need exists, increase or decrease the number of judges or increase, decrease or redefine appellate districts and judicial circuits.

 

SECTION 11. Retention; election and terms.

(a) Any Supreme Court justice, any District Court of Appeal judge, any circuit judge, any environmental judge, and/or any county court judge may qualify for retention by a vote of the electors in the general election next preceding the expiration of the justice’s or judge’s term in the manner prescribed by law.

(b) If a justice or judge is ineligible or fails to qualify for retention, a vacancy shall exist in that office upon the expiration of the term being served by the justice or judge. When a justice or judge so qualifies, the ballot shall read substantially as follows: “Shall Justice (or Judge) (name of justice or judge) of the (name of the court) be retained in office?”

(c) If a majority of the qualified electors voting within the supreme court district, appellate district, judicial circuit, or county of the respective court vote to retain, the justice or judge shall be retained for a term of six years. The term of the justice or judge retained shall commence on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January following the general election.

(d) If a majority of the qualified electors voting within the supreme court district, appellate district, judicial circuit, or county of the respective court vote to not retain, a vacancy shall exist in that office upon the expiration of the term being served by the justice or judge.

(e) The name of a justice of the Supreme Court or judge of a District Court of Appeal may not appear on the ballot for retention if, by the end of his/her current term of office, the justice or judge will have served in that office for twelve consecutive years. A justice who is ineligible for retention under this subsection or who resigns from office may not be appointed to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court for at least two years following the last date the justice served on the Supreme Court. A judge who is ineligible for retention under this subsection or who resigns from office may not be appointed to fill a vacancy on any District Court of Appeal for at least two years following the last date the justice served on the District Court of Appeal.

 

SECTION 12. Vacancies and judicial nominating commissions.

(a) VACANCIES.

(1) Whenever a vacancy occurs in a judicial office to which election for retention applies, the Governor shall fill the vacancy by appointing for a term ending on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January of the year following the next general election occurring at least one year after the date of appointment, one of six persons nominated by the appropriate judicial nominating commission.

(2) The nominations shall be made within thirty days from the occurrence of a vacancy unless the period is extended by the Governor for a time not to exceed thirty days. The Governor shall make the appointment within sixty days after the nominations have been certified to the Governor.

(b) JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSIONS.

(1) There shall be a separate judicial nominating commission as provided by general law for each supreme court district, each district court of appeal, and each judicial circuit for all trial courts within the circuit; but if any supreme court district, appellate district, and/or judicial circuit shall have the same boundaries, there shall be only one judicial nominating commission. Uniform rules of procedure shall be established by the judicial nominating commissions at each level of the court system. Such rules, or any part thereof, may be repealed by general law enacted by a majority vote of the membership of each house of the legislature, or by the Supreme Court, five justices concurring. The proceedings of the commissions and their records shall be open to the public.

(2) Each judicial nominating commission shall consist of the following members:

(I) five members appointed by the governing body of The Florida Bar from among The Florida Bar members who are actively engaged in the practice of law with offices within the territorial jurisdiction of the affected court, district or circuit;

(II) five electors who reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the affected court, district or circuit appointed by the Governor; and

(III) five electors who reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the affected court, district or circuit and who are not members of The Florida Bar, selected and appointed by a majority vote of the other ten members of the commission.

(3) No justice or judge, and no public officer shall be a member of a judicial nominating commission. No member shall be eligible for appointment to state judicial office so long as that person is a member of a judicial nominating commission and for a period of two years thereafter. All acts of a judicial nominating commission shall be made with a concurrence of a majority of its members.

(4) The members of a judicial nominating commission shall serve for staggered terms of four years.

 

SECTION 13. Discipline; removal and retirement.

(a) JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION. A judicial qualifications commission is created.

(1) There shall be a judicial qualifications commission vested with jurisdiction to investigate and recommend to the Supreme Court of Florida the removal from office of any justice or judge whose conduct, during term of office or otherwise occurring on or after November 1, 1966, (without regard to the effective date of this section) demonstrates a present unfitness to hold office, and to investigate and recommend the discipline of a justice or judge whose conduct, during term of office or otherwise occurring on or after November 1, 1966 (without regard to the effective date of this section), warrants such discipline. For purposes of this section, discipline is defined as any or all of the following: reprimand, fine, suspension with or without pay, or lawyer discipline. The commission shall have jurisdiction over justices and judges regarding allegations that misconduct occurred before or during service as a justice or judge if a complaint is made no later than one year following service as a justice or judge. The commission shall have jurisdiction regarding allegations of incapacity during service as a justice or judge. The commission shall be composed of:

(I) two judges of District Courts of Appeal selected by the judges of those courts, two circuit judges selected by the judges of the circuit courts, two environmental judges selected by the judges of the environmental courts, and two judges of county courts selected by the judges of those courts;

(II) four electors who reside in the state, who are members of The Bar of Florida, and who shall be chosen by the governing body of The Bar of Florida; and

(III) five electors who reside in the state, who have never held judicial office or been members of The Bar of Florida, and who shall be appointed by the Governor.

(2) The members of the judicial qualifications commission shall serve staggered terms of six years. No member of the commission except a judge shall be eligible for state judicial office while acting as a member of the commission and for a period of two years thereafter. No member of the commission shall hold office in a political party or participate in any campaign for judicial office or hold public office; provided that a judge may campaign for judicial office and hold that office. The commission shall elect one of its members as its chairperson.

(3) Members of the judicial qualifications commission not subject to impeachment shall be subject to removal from the commission pursuant to the provisions of Article IV, Section 7, Florida Constitution.

(4) The commission shall adopt rules regulating its proceedings, the filling of vacancies by the appointing authorities, the disqualification of members, the rotation of members between the panels, and the temporary replacement of disqualified or incapacitated members. The commission’s rules, or any part thereof, may be repealed by general law enacted by a majority vote of the membership of the legislature, or by the Supreme Court, five justices concurring. The commission shall have power to issue subpoenas. Until formal charges against a justice or judge are filed by the investigative panel with the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Florida all proceedings by or before the commission shall be confidential; provided, however, upon a finding of probable cause and the filing by the investigative panel with said clerk of such formal charges against a justice or judge such charges and all further proceedings before the commission shall be public.

(5) The commission shall have access to all information from all executive, legislative and judicial agencies, including grand juries, subject to the rules of the commission. At any time, on request of the speaker of the legislature or the Governor, the commission shall make available all information in the possession of the commission for use in consideration of impeachment or suspension, respectively.

(b) PANELS. The commission shall be divided into an investigative panel and a hearing panel as established by rule of the commission. The investigative panel is vested with the jurisdiction to receive or initiate complaints, conduct investigations, dismiss complaints, and upon a vote of a simple majority of the panel submit formal charges to the hearing panel. The hearing panel is vested with the authority to receive and hear formal charges from the investigative panel and upon a two-thirds vote of the panel recommend to the Supreme Court the removal of a justice or judge or the involuntary retirement of a justice or judge for any permanent disability that seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties. Upon a simple majority vote of the membership of the hearing panel, the panel may recommend to the Supreme Court that the justice or judge be subject to appropriate discipline.

(c) SUPREME COURT. The Supreme Court shall receive recommendations from the judicial qualifications commission’s hearing panel.

(1) The Supreme Court may accept, reject, or modify in whole or in part the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the commission and it may order that the justice or judge be subjected to appropriate discipline, or be removed from office with termination of compensation for willful or persistent failure to perform judicial duties or for other conduct unbecoming a member of the judiciary demonstrating a present unfitness to hold office, or be involuntarily retired for any permanent disability that seriously interferes with the performance of judicial duties. Malafides, scienter or moral turpitude on the part of a justice or judge shall not be required for removal from office of a justice or judge whose conduct demonstrates a present unfitness to hold office. After the filing of a formal proceeding and upon request of the investigative panel, the Supreme Court may suspend the justice or judge from office, with or without compensation, pending final determination of the inquiry.

(2) The Supreme Court may award costs to the prevailing party.

(d) MISCELLANEOUS.

(1) The power of removal conferred by this section shall be both alternative and cumulative to the power of impeachment.

(2) Notwithstanding any of the foregoing provisions of this section, if the person who is the subject of proceedings by the judicial qualifications commission is a justice of the Supreme Court of Florida all justices of such court automatically shall be disqualified to sit as justices of such court with respect to all proceedings therein concerning such person and the Supreme Court for such purposes shall be composed of a panel consisting of the chief judges of the judicial circuits of the State of Florida. In the event any such chief circuit judge is under investigation by the judicial qualifications commission or is otherwise disqualified or unable to serve on the panel, the next most senior chief circuit judge or judges shall serve in place of such disqualified or disabled chief circuit judge.

(3) An appointment to fill a vacancy of the commission shall be for the remainder of the term.

(4) Selection of members by District Courts of Appeal judges, circuit judges, environmental judges, and county court judges, shall be by no less than a majority of the members voting at the respective courts’ conferences. Selection of members by the governing body of The Bar of Florida shall be by no less than a majority of the governing body.

(5) The commission shall be entitled to recover the costs of investigation and prosecution, in addition to any penalty levied by the Supreme Court.

 

SECTION 14. Prohibited activities.

All justices and judges shall devote full time to their judicial duties. They shall not engage in the practice of law or hold office in any political party.

 

SECTION 15. Funding.

(a) All justices and judges shall be compensated only by state salaries fixed by general law. Funding for the state courts system, state attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices, and court-appointed counsel, except as otherwise provided in subsection (c), shall be provided from state revenues appropriated by general law.

(b) All funding for the offices of the clerks of the courts performing court-related functions, except as otherwise provided in this subsection and subsection (c), shall be provided by adequate and appropriate filing fees for judicial proceedings and service charges and costs for performing court-related functions as required by general law. Selected salaries, costs, and expenses of the state courts system may be funded from appropriate filing fees for judicial proceedings and service charges and costs for performing court-related functions, as provided by general law. Where the requirements of either the United States Constitution or the Constitution of the State of Florida preclude the imposition of filing fees for judicial proceedings and service charges and costs for performing court-related functions sufficient to fund the court-related functions of the offices of the clerks of the circuit and county courts, the state shall provide, as determined by the legislature, adequate and appropriate supplemental funding from state revenues appropriated by general law.

(c) No county or municipality, except as provided in this subsection, shall be required to provide any funding for the state courts system, state attorneys’ offices, public defenders’ offices, court-appointed counsel or the offices of the clerks of the courts performing court-related functions. Counties shall be required to fund the cost of communications services, existing radio systems, existing multi-agency criminal justice information systems, and the cost of construction or lease, maintenance, utilities, and security of facilities for the trial courts, public defenders’ offices, state attorneys’ offices, and the offices of the clerks of the courts performing court-related functions. Counties shall also pay reasonable and necessary salaries, costs, and expenses of the state courts system to meet local requirements as determined by general law.

(d) The judiciary shall have no power to fix appropriations.

 

SECTION 16. Attorneys; admission and discipline.

The Supreme Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the admission of persons to the practice of law and the discipline of persons admitted.

 

SECTION 17. Clerks of the Courts.

There shall be in each county a clerk of the courts who shall be elected by the electors thereof for terms of six years. No clerk of the courts shall be eligible to the same office for the term next succeeding that for which he/she was elected. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Constitution, the duties of the clerk of the courts may be divided by special or general law and shall include serving as ex-officio clerk of the county board of supervisors, auditor, recorder, and custodian of all county funds.

 

SECTION 18. State Attorneys.

In each county a state attorney shall be elected for a term of six years. No state attorney shall be eligible to the same office for the term next succeeding that for which he/she was elected. Except as otherwise provided in this constitution, the state attorney shall be the prosecuting officer of all trial courts in that county and circuit and shall perform other duties prescribed by general law; provided, however, when authorized by general law, the violations of all municipal ordinances may be prosecuted by municipal prosecutors. A state attorney shall be an elector of the state and reside in the county; shall be and have been a member of The Bar of Florida for the preceding five years; shall devote full time to the duties of the office; and shall not engage in the private practice of law. State attorneys shall appoint such assistant state attorneys as may be authorized by law.

 

SECTION 19. Public Defenders.

In each county a public defender shall be elected for a term of six years, who shall perform duties prescribed by general law. No public defender shall be eligible to the same office for the term next succeeding that for which he/she was elected. A public defender shall be an elector of the state and reside in the county and shall be and have been a member of The Bar of Florida for the preceding five years. Public defenders shall appoint such assistant public defenders as may be authorized by law.

 

SECTION 20. Judicial officers as conservators of the peace.

All judicial officers in this state shall be conservators of the peace.

 

NEW ARTICLE

Title: ARTICLE VI: SUFFRAGE AND ELECTIONS

SECTION 1. Elections.

All elections by the people shall be by direct and secret vote.

 

SECTION 2. Electors.

Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.

 

SECTION 3. Oath.

Each eligible citizen upon registering shall subscribe the following: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida, and that I am qualified to register as an elector under the Constitution and laws of the State of Florida.”

 

SECTION 4. Disqualifications.

(a) No person convicted of a felony, or adjudicated in this or any other state to be mentally incompetent, shall be qualified to vote or hold office until restoration of civil rights or removal of disability.

(b) No person may appear on the ballot for re-election to any of the following offices:

(1) Florida senator,

(2) Florida Governor,

(3) Florida Lieutenant-Governor,

(4) any office of the Florida Cabinet,

(5) any judicial circuit elective office (unless otherwise provided in this Constitution),

(6) any county elective office (unless otherwise provided in this Constitution),

(7) any municipal elective office, or

(8) any school district elective office (unless otherwise provided in this Constitution),

if, by the end of the current term of office, the person will have served (or, but for resignation, would have served) in that office for eight consecutive years.

 

SECTION 5. Regulation of elections.

(a) A voter-nomination primary election shall be conducted to select the candidates for congressional and state elective offices in Florida. All voters may vote at a voter-nominated primary election for any candidate for congressional and state elective office without regard to the political party preference disclosed by the candidate or the voter, provided that the voter is otherwise qualified to vote for candidates for the office in question. The candidates who are the top two vote-getters at a voter-nominated primary election for a congressional or state elective office shall, regardless of party preference, compete in the ensuing general election.

(b) A candidate for a congressional or state elective office may have his or her political party preference, or lack of political party preference, indicated upon the ballot for the office in the manner provided by statute. A political party or party central committee shall not nominate a candidate for any congressional or state elective office at the voter-nominated primary. This subdivision shall not be interpreted to prohibit a political party or party central committee from endorsing, supporting, or opposing any candidate for a congressional or state elective office. A political party or party central committee shall not have the right to have its preferred candidate participate in the general election for a voter-nominated office other than a candidate who is one of the two highest vote-getters at the primary election, as provided in subdivision (a).

(c) The Legislature shall provide for partisan elections for presidential candidates, and political party and party central committees, including an open presidential primary whereby the candidates on the ballot are those found by the State to be recognized candidates throughout the nation or throughout Florida for the office of President of the United States, and those whose names are placed on the ballot by petition, but excluding any candidate who has withdrawn by filing an affidavit of noncandidacy.

 

SECTION 6. Campaign spending limits and funding of campaigns for elective state-wide office.

It is the policy of this State to provide for state-wide elections in which all qualified candidates may compete effectively. A method of public financing for campaigns for state-wide office shall be established by law. Spending limits shall be established for such campaigns for candidates who use public funds in their campaigns. The legislature shall provide funding for this provision. General law implementing this paragraph shall be at least as protective of effective competition by a candidate who uses public funds as the general law in effect on January 1, 1998.

 

SECTION 7. Electoral College.

(a) PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS.

(1) In compliance with the United States Constitution, the State shall have a number of presidential electors equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State is entitled in the United States Congress.

(2) Any person, who meets such qualifications as herein provided, may apply to serve as a presidential elector in any year in which the President and Vice-President of the United States are elected. No person may apply to serve as a presidential elector unless:

(I) He/she is a United States citizen

(II) He/she is a registered voter of the State of Florida.

(III) He/she is at least 18 years of age.

(IV) He/she is officially affiliated with any registered political party.

(3) The Secretary of State shall cause to be created, on the official internet website of the Secretary of State, an electronic registration form to allow any person, who meets the aforementioned qualifications, to apply to serve as a presidential elector, to complete the said registration form online and electronically submit the completed form for examination by the proper registered political party.

(4) Each registered political party shall closely examine each and every application for presidential elector.

(5)(I) Each registered political party shall choose persons, from among the applicants, to serve as presidential electors and to fill vacancies in the office of presidential electors for their party's candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States according to the procedures established in their bylaws.

(II) Each registered political party shall choose at least one presidential elector, whenever possible, from the following age groups:

(i) first group: At least 18 years of age, but no older than 29 years of age.

(ii) second group: At least 30 years of age, but no older than 49 years of age.

(iii) third group: At least 50 years of age.

(III) Whenever possible, neither of the 2 at-large presidential electors may be from the same county or congressional district.

(IV) No public officer, justice, or judge of the State, a county, or municipality, shall be eligible to serve as a presidential elector.

(6) The highest number of votes cast for a political party's presidential and vice-presidential candidates elects the presidential electors selected by that political party.

(7) No presidential elector herein chosen shall receive any salary or other compensation for their services as presidential elector, but shall receive their necessary traveling and other expenses incurred while actually engaged in the discharge of their official duties.

(b) ELECTORAL COLLEGE.

(1) The presidential electors shall meet at the State Capitol at noon on the first Wednesday of the December after their election, or at noon of any other day designated by the Congress of the United States of America.

(2) After convening, the presidential electors shall perform their duties in conformity with the United States Constitution and laws.

(3) The 2 at-large presidential electors shall cast their respective electoral ballots for the presidential and vice-presidential candidate who received the highest number of votes in the State.

(4) Each congressional district presidential elector shall cast his/her electoral ballot for the presidential and vice-presidential candidate who received the highest number of votes in his/her congressional district.

(5) Any presidential elector who does not cast his/her electoral ballot in the manner so required under this subsection is considered to have resigned from the office of presidential elector, his or her vote may not be recorded, and the remaining presidential electors shall appoint another person to fill the vacancy.