RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- New questions surfaced Tuesday about the process used to pass Senate Bill 20, which would ban most abortions after 12 weeks.
Provisions in that bill were agreed upon by Republican lawmakers -- and voted through both chambers -- in the span of 48 hours last week, with no opportunity for public comment.
"For a bill like this -- that affects nearly half of the state's population -- to rush a bill through this quickly, with no opportunity for amendments indicates hubris and a rejection of really the democratic process," said Ann Webb, a policy director at Common Cause North Carolina.
The bill's supporters said there was plenty of time to debate the legislation, pointing to the 8 hours it was discussed on the Senate floor Thursday. But Webb, and other critics, contend it was rushed and reckless.
"There are no rules or political constraints that force legislative leadership to use that kind of process," said Webb. "All it does is undermine public trust in our government."
Political science professor Andrew Taylor said it reflects the reality of modern-day politics in North Carolina and the power held by the majority party in state legislatures.
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"When they want to make things move and they have their ducks in a row, things can move exceptionally quickly. And this is just how it works in North Carolina, for better or worse," he said.
But Taylor also warned of the potential risks that come with wielding that power too aggressively.
"You are going to be watched by the general public," Taylor said. "Can you do this in a way that the general public says at the end of a legislative session, 'You know what the stuff they did was done well? You know, even if I might not agree with it substantively, that the process is fair?'"
That's the sort of judgment from the public that Webb says Common Cause will rely on to create more transparency moving forward.
"Voters need to tell their legislators that they demand a transparent and democratic process at the legislature," she said.
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