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Sine Die: Without Day doesn’t mean Without Significance

Nov 29, 2017

The Michigan Constitution requires that the Legislature adjourns “without day” each year of a regular session.  Adjourning “without day” means that the Legislature has not set a day in which it will reconvene, therefore it’s the final adjournment of the year.  Sine die, Latin for “without day”, triggers many important events for the state Legislature.  First, it signals the conclusion of a legislative year.  If that year ends in an even number, then all of the pending legislation which has not been passed by the Legislature, dies and does not get carried forward.  If that year ends in an odd number, then pending legislation will get carried forward into the following year. 

Adjourning sine die also starts the clock on when some bills that have been signed into law can take effect.  If the bill doesn’t contain an effective date within its contents, or hasn’t been given immediate effect by a 2/3rd vote of the Legislature, then it will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.   Sine die can also trigger a pocket veto by the Governor.  The Governor has 14 days to sign a bill into law.  If he doesn’t sign the bill after that time, then it automatically becomes law during a regular legislative session or when the Legislature is in recess.  However, if the Legislature has adjourned sine die before the 14 days are up, then any unsigned bills after that length of time passes do not become law and this is referred to as a “pocket veto”.  Depending on the issue, this can be a very useful tool for a Governor.

Just as the state Constitution requires adjournment without day, it sets the day when the Legislature has to reconvene.  The second Wednesday in January, at precisely twelve o’clock noon, starts the legislative process all over again.

Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit www.mlcmi.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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