North Carolina’s Republican-dominated Senate approved a controversial voter identification bill and a highly restrictive abortion bill during its last full day of session on Thursday.
The session featured a frenzy of GOP legislation, including a bill that allows guns on playgrounds and in bars.
The new voter ID bill cuts early voting from 17 to 10 days, eliminates same-day voter registration and scraps a civics program that registers 18 year olds in high school to vote. The bill also lifts campaign finance restrictions, allowing political parties to accept unlimited corporate donations. The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Bill Cook, would even penalize college students who choose to vote at school rather than in their parents’ home district by raising taxes on their family.
The abortion bill creates regulations on abortion clinics, which could leave only 16 clinics in the state open. It limits insurance coverage on abortion, but requires additional meetings between patients and their clinic doctors.
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While Republicans for the bill said they are interested in women’s health and safety, opponents of the bill said the procedures are already safe and cited opposition for the bill from state and national medical groups.
The bills are headed to Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who said he will sign the House version of the abortion bill, despite promising during his campaign not to support any new abortion restrictions.
The AP speculated that if McCrory signs the ID bill, it would likely be challenged in court. Eric Holder said Wednesday he would challenge a similar voter ID bill in Texas.