Note: Crowley Political Report first offered this to readers at the close of the 2013 Florida Legislature. With today being the last day of the 2014 session....we revisit the history of hank dropping.
Each year at the close of Florida's 60 day legislative session, the sergeants of each chamber go the Rotunda to drop a handkerchief signaling the end of the session. It doesn't always work out. There have been times when one chamber has left early, sometimes in a huff, which makes a mess of the hanky drop.
The whole thing got started when the Senate President and House Speaker had no other way to signal the end of the session. There was a time when the chambers did not face each other. That got remedied when the chambers were aligned. Then of course with the advent of phones the whole ceremony became simply symbolic.
In one of these photos one might spot a young Ron Book looking on. And you will also see when one chamber sergeant dropped a tablecloth instead of a handkerchief. Is is also interesting to note that until fairly recently, spectators were not roped off.
2006 House Sergeant at Arms Earnest W. "Earnie" Sumners (l) and Senate Sergeant at Arms Donald Severance.