Posted June 14, 2011 10:30 p.m. EDT
Updated June 14, 2011 10:49 p.m. EDT
The House was expected to hold its veto override vote Wednesday. But not at 12:05 a.m.
Speaker Thom Tillis announced at 9:15 p.m. Tuesday that the House would stay till midnight and then take the override vote just after that, even though a daytime session is scheduled for Wednesday.
Tillis said he made the decision because the override vote has become "a distraction we don't need." The five Democrats have received thousands of emails, he said, and security has been stepped up throughout the complex.
"This is a bill the governor has had in her possession for weeks," Tillis said. "Every day that we wait is another day agencies wait for certainty."
Tillis also said Republicans would "call the question" - that is, cut off debate - allowing only caucus leaders Stam and Hackney to address the override vote.
"This has been debated," Tillis said. "We all know where we stand."
Critics suggested another explanation for the midnight vote: State teachers' group NCAE is planning to bring teachers to the legislature Wednesday to lobby lawmakers, especially the five Democrats.
The Senate is expected to take up the veto Thursday, but with an advantage in that chamber of 31-19, the GOP has the votes needed to override without Democratic allies.
Tillis said lawmakers are hoping to finish their session Friday.
WRAL will cover the veto override vote live at 12:05am Wednesday.