The government of Florida is a constitutional republic with three branches of government.
It includies the executive branch consisting of the Governor of Florida and the other elected and appointed constitutional officers; the legislative branch, the Florida Legislature, consisting of the Senate and House, as well as other functions such as state auditors and the utility-regulating Public Service Commission; and the judicial branch consisting of the Supreme Court of Florida and lower courts. The state also allows direct participation of the electorate by initiative, referendum, and ratification.
Florida's capital is Tallahassee, located in Northeastern Leon County. The Florida State Capitol is located in the downtown Tallahassee, housing the executive and legislative offices as well as the state's legislative chambers.
Constitution and laws
The government of the state of Florida is established and operated according to the Florida Constitution. The state of Florida is a democratic constitutional republic. The Florida Constitution defines the basic structures and operation of the government, its duties, responsibilities, and powers, and establishes the basic law of the state and guarantees various rights and freedoms of the people. Florida's first constitution was implemented as a U.S. territory and written in 1838, and on March 3, 1845, Florida was granted admission into the union as the 27th state. Throughout its history, Florida has been ruled by six different constitutions. The current Constitution of Florida was ratified on November 5, 1968, and modified by initiative and referendum several times since.
Article V of the Florida Constitution, relating to the Judicial Branch, was not included in the 1968 revision. Not until 1971 in a special session, did the Legislature pass Senate Joint Resolution 52-D proposing to the voters the "modern" Article V.
Power in Florida is divided among three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. The state delegates non-exclusive power to local municipal and county governments. However, home-rule charters can be established which provide significant local autonomy over the structure and operation of those governments.
Sovereign immunity laws ensure that action cannot be brought against the Florida government for more than $200,000, with an exception for breach of contract cases. Specifically, section 768.28, Florida Statutes, is a limited waiver of the state's sovereign immunity. It provides that neither the state nor its agencies or subdivisions is liable to pay a tort claim or a judgment by any one person over $100,000 or any claim or judgment over $200,000, when totaled with all other claims paid by the state or its agencies or subdivisions arising out of the same incident. The Supreme Court recognized the exception for breach of contract cases. The Court noted that the statutory waiver of sovereign immunity is related to torts and there is no analogous waiver in contract, but that the Legislature, by law, had authorized state entities to enter into contracts, so "the legislature has clearly intended that such contracts be valid and binding on both parties."