Current Florida State Constitution Ratified in 1968

1968 Florida Constitution

Cover: 1968 Florida Constitution

The current constitution for the State of Florida was ratified in 1968. It was proposed on June 24 – July 3, 1968, during three joint resolutions in special sessions of the Florida Legislature. The constitution was ratified via referendum by the electorate on November 5, 1968.

The political reason for the new constitution was to provide a fairer apportionment of legislative districts, required by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of various decisions in the 1960s. Florida had a fixed number of senators per county, regardless of population, since the republic began. This approach violated new Federal court decisions.  The new constitution remedied the apportionment to properly align the number and alignment of senators based on population per district.

After the ratification of the 1968 constitution, the Florida Senate is composed of 40 members, each elected from a single-member district with a population of approximately 540,000 residents. Legislative districts are drawn on the basis of population figures provided by the federal decennial census.

In addition to the change in the selection of state senators, the 1968 constitution also eliminated the codification of segregation. The prior constitution, which was ratified in 1885, banned the racial integration of schools (Article XII, Section 12), and prohibited marriage between “a white person and a person of negro descent.” (Article XVI, Section 24). The constitution of 1968 reversed these provisions.

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