The number lawmakers who attended Monday's legislative mini-session barely outnumbered the protesters who came to chat slogans and decry the Republican agenda.
The roughly 30 demonstrators rallied outside about an assortment of issues, from fracking to high college tuition, before marching inside to meet with House Speaker Thom Tillis -- repeating a scene from February when Capitol Police cited an obscure rule invoked by Tillis' staff to remove visitors from the second floor of the statehouse.
Tillis did not attend the legislative session. His staff promised demonstrators a meeting within a month and they left a hefty stack of letters protesting the GOP's tenure.
"He won't even come to his own special session," said Gerrick Brenner, who leads Progress NC, a liberal advocacy group. "Just garbage. Just garbage."
A spokesman said Tillis had meetings in his district. He previously asked lawmakers to not attend the session and waive per diem payments to save money.
About 50 lawmakers did attend the session. -- mostly Democrats skeptical about the GOP's pledge not to take votes -- but the House took no action and adjourned until 9 a.m. Wednesday.
House Democratic leader Joe Hackney said they asked members to attend and held a caucus meeting. Those who did are expected to waive per diem payments, he said.
GOP leaders set the legislative mini-session in November in case it needed to adjust the redistricting plan winding its way through the court system.
It costs roughly $50,000 a day to hold a legislative session. It's unclear how much this week's three-day session will cost, given the low attendance and lawmakers' waiving their pay.