House Speaker Thom Tillis (left), Governor Pat McCrory (right)
RALEIGH, N.C. -
The protests against a last-minute abortion bill in the state Senate dominated headlines this week, but it's what will happen next within the Republican Party itself that could be just as interesting.
"When you have Republicans in super-majorities, the conflict, the story is not between Republicans and Democrats," N.C. State University political scientist Steven Greene said. "It is going to be between the Republicans and I think we're very much seeing that right now."
Most insiders expect the House to also pass House Bill 685. It bans the application of foreign laws in North Carolina courts and imposes a set new restrictions on how abortions can be covered by insurance plans and how clinics can perform them. Some activists warned it will force the vast majority of clinics in the state that perform abortions to close.
The bill should garner wide support among Republicans, but it's how House Speaker Thom Tillis will vote that could have long-lasting consequences. He's running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Kay Hagan, but he's got to win his primary first.
"So, I think he will probably go ahead and support this," Greene said. "If he supports this legislation. He wins the primary. Kay Hagan hammers him with this."
Senator Hagan gave a preview of those attacks online this week. On Tuesday she tweeted, "If #ncga leaders think they can pull a fast one on women's health right before a holiday, they are wrong...women are watching."
Meanwhile, Governor Pat McCrory might even be in a tougher spot. During his campaign for governor, he said he would not sign tougher abortion laws. If he chose not to sign it, McCrory could do nothing and let it pass without his signature or even veto it, says Greene, knowing the legislature probably has the votes to override him.
"That might actually be what Pat McCrory wants," Greene said, "so he could veto it and say, 'Hey, look, I lived up to my pledge, but on the other hand, I could still get the legislation passed.'"
One certainty as the abortion bill continues moving through the legislature is the opposition from protestors on the left. The House health committee is scheduled to debate the bill on Tuesday morning (LOB, room 544) that meeting is expected to be well-attended by protestors.
Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms.More>>