UPDATE: The House and Senate have both gaveled in the fourth special session, which is expected to last until Thursday.
The deadline in the House for submitting legislation for discussion this session is 7 p.m.
The House will return to session at 5 p.m. for a non-voting session but will likely re-enter session later this evening for voting sessions after the deadline to submit legislation has passed.
During the opening of the session, after passing the rules for the session, Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake) formally protested the session under Article II, Sec. 18 of the State Constitution, claiming that the session was unconstitutional.
he was joined by more than a dozen other Democratic House members in his protest.
Under the state Constitution there are two ways for the Legislature to come into session outside of the normally scheduled Long and Short Sessions.
Under the State Constitution, “The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall convene the General Assembly in extra session by their joint proclamation upon receipt by the President of the Senate of written requests therefor signed by three-fifths of all the members of the Senate and upon receipt by the Speaker of the House of Representatives of written requests therefor signed by three-fifths of all the members of the House of Representatives.”
By securing the signatures of three-fifths of the members of both chambers the General Assembly was able to call itself back into session after closing the special session called by Gov. Pat McCrory for hurricane and wildfire relief.
Democrats in the House questioned House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) on the reason for the special session, to which he responded that the session was for members to take up matters that they would like to discuss.
At one point Moore invited Minority Leader Rep. Larry Hall (D-Durham) to resubmit his two elections reform bills that he submitted during the special session called for disaster relief again.
During the special session where the Disaster Recovery Act of 2016 was passed only disaster relief was taken up.
Protesters filled the gallery in the House, multiple times breaking out in applause and cheers at Democrat members questions and booing and jeering at Republicans on the chamber floor.
After the session protesters gathered on the third floor of the House in between the two chambers and chanted and sang while the House and Senate were in recess.
House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) announced an additional special session to open at 2 p.m. today to address “any matter the General Assembly wishes to consider.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) has also announced the session, saying that McCrory called the session, but no proclamation of a special session has come out from McCrory yet.
The announcement has given new life to the claims that the Legislature has something secretive planned ranging from legislation to put two additional seats on the State Supreme Court to limiting the power of the governor before Governor-elect Roy Cooper is sworn in next month.
In response the state NAACP has made a call for protesters to come to the General Assembly for a second day of protests and other liberal groups are calling the Legislature’s insistence that it would be transparent through the process laughable.
The special session is planned to open today and carry over into tomorrow.
This story will be updated as the day continues.