Today is the last day of the 2007 Legislative Session. It is called Sine Die because the chambers of the Legislature always adjourn during the Legislative Session until a specific moment in time. The official motion on the floor is “I move that the [House or Senate] adjourn until [specific time] or upon the call of the Chair.” (They sometimes add things like “for the purposes of recieving reports of standing committees” or other language.) However, when the chambers end the day today, the motion will be to “adjourn sine die.”
The tradition holds that each chamber opens its doors so they can see across the rotunda to the other chamber. When the motion to adjourn passes, the Sergeant-At-Arms of the respecitve chambers drop a handkerchief. This is a tradition dating back before telephones were installed in the Old Capitol, so that the President and Speaker knew when the other chamber had adjourned for good.
It’s mostly symbolic, and often the Sergeants stand in the center of the rotunda, as in this picture from 2006:
There are only 4 Bills on third reading in the House. On the last day of session, the House usually takes up bills passed by the Senate, which are received by the House as Messages.
There are only 10 Bills on third reading in the Senate and only 1 bill on the Senate Special Order Calendar. As in the House, the Senate usually devotes the last day of session to passing bills that come over from the House, which are received by the Senate as Messages.
A few other major issues that remain:No-Fault Auto Insurance – The Senate has passed SB 1880, and the bill is on Second Reading in the House; the bill was temporarily postponed (TP’d) yesterday.
Global Warming – Both the House and Senate have bills creating the Florida Climate Action Partnership on Second Reading in their respective chambers.
Stadium Financing – The Florida Marlins want a new stadium (passed the House, not the Senate). The Orlando Magic want a new arena. The Tampa Bay Lightning want money to help maintain the St. Pete Times Forum (passed the House, not the Senate). The issue has been declared dead by the Senate, but the Marlins’ bill is a priority for Speaker Rubio.
Video Lottery – The Senate passed its version. The House bill requires the tax receipts for video lottery terminals to be used to reduce the required local match component of the Florida Education Finance Program – thus lowering school property taxes. However, the House bill is still in the Policy & Budget Council, probably stuck there.
Stem Cell Research – The House bill is on Second Reading; the Senate Bill is still in the Health & Human Services Appropriations Committee.
Here are some additional Sine Die photos, courtesy of the Florida Memory Project (click for larger view), from 1955, 1978, and 1987: