Sine Die

Sine Die

“Sine die” is the language that marks the end of the regular session of the Virginia General Assembly. The term, originating from Latin, means “without fixing a day for future action or meeting,” and it is the customary phrase uttered by the Clerks of the Senate and House of Delegates at the conclusion of the annual legislative session. 

The term Sine die refers to the fact that the General Assembly is not scheduled to meet again until next year. The exception being, of course, the single day next month — April 17 — that we will reconvene to act on vetoes and amendments from the governor on legislation that we passed during our 60-day session. 

While the words Sine die represent a finish line for this year’s session, it marks the beginning of the final chapter of the legislative process. All told, Gov. Glenn Youngkin received 1,046 bills from the General Assembly this year. As of this writing, he has vetoed eight bills, amended 12, and signed 52 bills into law. The governor must act on all legislation by midnight on April 8, which is 30 days after adjournment of the General Assembly. 

I was encouraged to see the governor’s signature of HB 174 carried by Delegate Rozia Henson Jr. (D-Woodbridge), which codifies the legal right to marriage between two consenting adults in Virginia, regardless of the sex, gender, or race of the parties. I introduced SB 101, the identical Senate version of the legislation, which received bipartisan support in both the Senate and House of Delegates and which awaits gubernatorial action. 

Much will be speculated in the coming weeks about Gov. Youngkin’s potential actions on individual bills, and on the state budget. At a hastily-convened press conference outside the Capitol last week, the governor announced his displeasure with the budget passed by the General Assembly. The governor’s chief complaints include: (1) removal from the budget of the proposal to sell state-backed bonds to finance the relocation of two professional sports teams to Alexandria; (2) prohibiting the governor’s effort to repeal Virginia’s corporate polluter tax, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI); and (3) the blocking of the governor’s fiscally irresponsible tax-giveaways to the wealthiest Virginians. 

The governor’s vetoes thus far present an unfortunate preview of the actions he could take on bills that await his consideration. In particular, I can only express concern and bewilderment with the governor’s veto of SB 47, carried by Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington), and HB 46, carried by Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker (D-Alexandria), which would better protect family members of individuals who are temporarily prohibited from possessing firearms because they are subject to a protective order or have been convicted of an assault and battery of a family or household member. I hope that the governor will heed the voices of the vast majority of Virginians and not stand in the way of additional state-level protections against gun violence in the coming weeks. 

I look forward to updating you on the status of the budget and more than 1,000 bills, including 16 of mine, as we advance toward the April 8 deadline for the governor to act on legislation. 

It is my continued honor to serve the residents of the 39th Senate District.