If we put a comma between the words, this could be the wish of every high school student who hates learning trigonometry.
If we read sine as sinus, this could be the wish of every Floridian now suffering through the seasons of oak pollen, pine pollen, ligustrum, or any other thing that causes sneezing fits and nasal drips.
But no, it’s the phrase from Latin that means adjournment without a date of resumption. In other words, finale. Done. Over. Goodbye, and if you live in Florida, good luck. The annual 60-day legislative session has ended. Lots of new, bad laws to digest and, fall down and kiss the dirt, no more opportunity for additional ones.
That’s the usual way. But Florida offers Ron DeSantis, who lets no opportunity go unused to call the legislature into session if there’s another bad law he wants them to pass as he did last November when he converted a committee week into a special session to ban local school boards from imposing mask mandates.
Sine die doesn’t mean what it used to. Not when the legislature ignored a property insurance crisis in the state to pass laws that allow parents to challenge library books, forbid classroom discussions about race and development issues about gender identity, set up a new police agency dedicated to finding election fraud (everyone can see it, right? A tight re-election race and the governor now has the tool he needs …), recreating a volunteer State Guard to rival the Florida National Guard (the state guard would be solely under the Governor’s authority), and many other things like moving university president searches into the shade, setting up a new state board for authorizing charter schools, and imposing financial penalties on school districts for those mask mandates.
We used to eagerly anticipate sine die. As bad as a legislative session could be, at least it was over and we could breathe easy knowing the mischief wouldn’t start up again for another year. But special sessions are coming. Besides the property insurance mess, the Governor is determined to eliminate minority Congressional districts in the state.
Remarkably, the Florida House and Senate, both Republicans and Democrats, went into the decennial redistricting determined to produce new maps that would not be challenged in court.
A worthy goal indeed, and one they achieved through a spirit of compromise and fairness as they reworked their own district boundaries to fit the changed demographics of Florida’s population. It is probable the Governor didn’t like those either, but he can’t veto legislative redistricting like he can the Congressional.
He vowed to veto the map the legislature approved. At this time, the legislature hasn’t sent it to him. Florida, right? Lawsuits are being filed to ask the courts to step in lest Florida run its 2022 elections according to the old districts from the 2010 census, allegedly an unconstitutional practice.
A typical Florida mess. The House actually anticipated this by passing two maps, one it prefers and one as a back-up. No one is sure if this is constitutional, either. Meanwhile, filing deadlines for candidates are approaching and few can guess what district they will wind up in.
You might say this is a good case for drawing four or five superdistricts, each electing five to seven representatives with a version of stacked ranked voting sorting out the votes. But Florida has outlawed that, too. Single districts that elect with a plurality of the vote are all that’s allowed.
This is a fascinating tangent to the main point, which is that sine die won’t quite die this year even after the hankie falls to the floor. It will have to be picked up and, whenever the lawmakers gather, mischief abounds.