Under the Dome

Claims Dept.: Midnight sessions and votes are not usual

Claim: “Sessions that clock in at 12:01 at night are not unusual in the General Assembly at all.”

State Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Cary in an interview with The News & Observer.

Explanation: To defend the secretive midnight legislative session, state Rep. Nelson Dollar, a top Republican, said sessions that start after midnight are “not unusual … at all.” Or accounting for the double negative, he says they are usual.

Not so. A News & Observer analysis of House and Senate votes since 2001 shows votes in the early morning hours after midnight account for less than 1 percent of the total, making them rare.

Presented with the data and asked for more explanation, Dollar said he was trying to make the point that early morning votes are “not an unprecedented thing.” On this point, he is correct. But Dollar’s initial remark was not as precise.

Ruling: False

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