You Need to Know This Term – “Sine Die”, Or How the NCGA Will Not Let Bad Bills Die

Can you identify these Latin terms and phrases?

  • “Carpe Diem” – Dead Poets Society
  • “E Pluribus Unum” – look at a dollar bill
  • “Et Cetera” – also known as “etc.”
  • “Et tu, Brute?” – read some Shakespeare
  • “Fac simile” – just the fax
  • “In memoriam” – can be saddening
  • “Magna Cum Laude” – not on my diploma
  • “Pater familias” – watch Oh Brother! Where Art Thou?
  • “Pro bono” – sounds legal
  • “Semper fidelis” – Marines
  • “Terra Firma” – you are hopefully standing on it
  • “Wingardium Leviosa” – ask any Potter fan


  • “Sine Die” – What the hell is that? Just wait

What do these people have in common?

  • Paul “Skip” Stam
  • Bob Rucho
  • Tom Apodaca
  • Buck Newton
  • Fletcher Hartsell
  • Daniel Soucek

All of these incumbents are not seeking reelection to the North Carolina General Assembly after this term – a term that actually ends at the end of 2016, not at the end of the summer session of the NCGA.

When the General Assembly adjourned this weekend, it did not mean that these lawmakers’ tenure of havoc ended. Why?

Because the House adjourned “SINE DIE” which if you know your Latin means “without day”. According to a post from the great public school advocate Yevonne Brannon, “To adjourn an assembly sine die is to adjourn it for an indefinite period. A legislative body adjourns sine die when it adjourns without appointing a day on which to appear or assemble again.”

It means they did not set a return date. They can reconvene at any time before public schools go back to classes. They can reconvene at any time before the November General Elections.

This General Assembly has already shown us that it will meet in a special session; that’s where we got HB2.

This General Assembly and its leadership has already shown us that it will meet behind closed doors without public debate.

This General Assembly has shown us that it will hold press conferences but not give the press the material to review in order to ask important questions.

This General Assembly has shown us that it will hold midnight votes to discourage floor debates.

And do not think that the same people who have done the above will not come back to take care of business that they have tabled because of the bad publicity it has garnered specifically the following:

  • Background Checks for Teachers
  • The Math Bill
  • Charter School Funding
  • TABOR, also known as HB3
  • HB2 fund to fight the Feds

This is not a group that will easily just let those items stay on the table for the 2017 session.

Brush up on your Latin!