Monday, June 23, 2008

Sine Die Traditions

When the gavel falls for the last time during the legislative session, Hawaii is known for its tradition of gathering in a circle and singing "Hawaii Aloha" in unity. Nancy Cook Lauer, head of Stephens Media capitol bureau, captured the moment on film in 2006 and submitted it for a story to See it here.

The story describes the various ways state legislatures across the country celebrate the end of session. Maryland throws confetti, while Georgia throws shredded paper.

Florida, Washington and North Carolina hold hankerchief dropping ceremonies. "The sergeant-at-arms from one or both chambers drops a handkerchief in the center rotunda that is visible to both the House speaker and Senate president. When the hankie hits the floor, both presiding officers strike their gavels simultaneously, ensuring that one chamber doesn’t adjourn before the other."

South Carolina once had a "fat lady" sing. Alabama awards a "shroud" for the best "dead bill". Alabama's Rep. Thomas Jackson won the shroud last year for a bill to allow a higher alcohol content in beer.

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