Everything you need to know about Sine Die in Georgia

If you’ve been on Twitter today or watched the news, you’ve probably encountered the phrase “Sine Die.” Today is Sine Die for lawmakers under the Gold Dome in Atlanta. It is the last day for bills to be passed into state law in Georgia for this year. Think of it as kind of a graduation day of sorts for lawmakers. Here’s everything you need to know about Sine Die in Georgia.

What is Sine Die?
Sine Die is the term used for the last day of the legislative session. In Georgia, the legislature meets for 40 days. Day 40 is Sine Die. It is the last day that a bill can pass. If it doesn’t pass by the end of day 40, it will have to wait until next year to be picked up.

When is Sine Die?
For the 2021 legislative session, Sine Die is March 31.

How is Sine Die pronounced?
Sine Die is pronounced “Sigh-nee-die” by Georgia lawmakers, however that isn’t the correct pronunciation of the term. In Latin, it is “sina dia.”

What does Sine Die mean?
It means “without day.” State legislatures use this on their last day because they are quite literally without another day to work.

Hasn’t the legislature been meeting for more than 40 days?
The legislature has been in session since January. But a “day” to the state legislature is quite different than how you typically count days. the 40 day rule applies to legislative days, not calendar days. A legislative day is any day the legislature is conducting business on the floor of the house or senate. It runs from gavel to gavel. Hold on to that thought for just a second.

What happens at midnight on Day 40?
Nothing. Midnight doesn’t mean anything in terms of legislative days. No one turns into a pumpkin and no one is ushered out of the building because time has run out. If the legislature is still in a marathon session at midnight on Sine Die, they can continue to work until they are officially adjourned. In Georgia, bills do not expire at the tick of a clock, but at the banging of a gavel. Some state legislatures do meet based on calendar days, but not this one.

When will these bills become law?
A bill that is passed by Sine Die isn’t automatically a law. The governor still has a chance to veto it. If the governor doesn’t veto a bill it will become a law. Most laws in Georgia go into effect July 1, unless the law itself specifies a different effective date.

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    • The Georgia state legislature only meets from January to late March or early April. They aren’t there the other months out of the year unless they are called into a special session. Being a state legislator is not a full time job, nor do legislators receive full time pay.

  1. No wonder this is such a back water state. I think it’s time to leave the 1800s behind and admit the south lost the war and act like a normal society.

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