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Florida Constitution Revision Commission

PUB 700259: Reformation of the Counties by Loyal Millett

ARTICLE V: JUDICIARY, Section 16. Clerks of the circuit courts.

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.

ARTICLE V: JUDICIARY, Section 17. State attorneys.

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.

ARTICLE V: JUDICIARY, Section 18. Public defenders.

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.

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. Effective January 1, 2021, there shall be no more than 55 counties at any time, but the Legislature may provide for a lesser number.
  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 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, a tax collector, a clerk of the courts, a state attorney, and a public defender. The powers, duties, compensation, and qualifications for these offices shall be provided by law. No person shall serve in any of the aforesaid county offices for more than twelve years in any period of eighteen years.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. 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 The governing body of each county shall be a board of county commissioners composed of at least five, but no more than or seven thirteen 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. No county commissioner shall serve more than eight years in any period of twelve years.
  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 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 each 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.

ARTICLE VIII: LOCAL GOVERNMENT, Section 3. Consolidation.

SECTION 3.Consolidation.

The government of a county (a) Effective January 1, 2021, the government of each county with a resident population of at least 125,000, 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.

(b) For any county with a resident population of less than 125,000, theThe 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.