Jessica Jones


Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.

Ways to Connect

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt

A program giving developers tax credits to restore old buildings expired on January first. But advocates have launched a campaign asking lawmakers to restore the program.

The North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition has launched an online petition drive to ask state lawmakers to restore the historic tax credit. So far it has more than 1,700 signatures.

Representative Paul Tine

A state legislator who was previously a Democrat has become unaffiliated because he feels he can get more done that way for his district. Representative Paul Tine of the Outer Banks says he wanted to stay within the moderate Democratic fold, but he felt the party was veering too far to the left for him. Tine also feels that as an unaffiliated legislator, he can work with the Republican majority to benefit his district. He says the Outer Banks benefited from strong legislators, including former Democratic Senator Marc Basnight:

U.S. Representative Alma Adams
U.S. Representative Alma Adams

New members of North Carolina's Congressional delegation were sworn in today in Congress. That includes Republican Senator Thom Tillis and Republican Congressman David Rouzer of the 7th District.

Photo: Mark Martin
Mark Martin

North Carolina's state Supreme Court Chief Justice was sworn in yesterday. 

Chief Justice Mark Martin was officially sworn in for an eight-year term in a ceremony at the North Carolina Supreme Court.

But he isn't new to the court- Martin was first elected in 1998. He was appointed to serve as Chief Justice this summer, after the former Chief Justice Sarah Parker resigned. She had reached the mandatory retirement age of 72.

Tulane Publications via Flickr/Creative Commons

An effort to open the state’s Medicaid program to managed care ran into trouble today. A report that passed a subcommittee easily last week was gutted in a health and human services oversight committee meeting this morning.

The move may indicate a victory for the administration and some Republicans who want to build on an existing program for Medicaid patients. 

This morning, Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos left no doubt where she stands on the issue of Medicaid reform. She addressed a conference room filled with state lawmakers, reporters, and lobbyists.

Ralf Heb / Flickr/Creative Commons

In recent months, Governor Pat McCrory has said he’s considering proposing expansion of the state’s Medicaid program, which would allow more low-income people here to receive health care. Back in 2012, the General Assembly passed a bill blocking expansion and the formation of a state health exchange. The governor signed it into law. But now, many other Republican-led states are moving forward with enlarging eligibility for the program. Yet Republican leaders don’t have a consensus on what to do here.

North Carolina Southern Piedmont Region Rand McNally Map circa 1947
Davecito via Flickr/Creative Commons

North Carolina's Department of Transportation has released a plan that would spend $15 billion on road construction, aviation and public transit projects through 2025.

The plan would use new standards under a new method approved by the General Assembly last year. Governor Pat McCrory said it's the right choice for the state:

"We're taking away the choke points which block access to rural and urban areas alike, to spur economic growth and create jobs. We're taking the politics out of road building and transportation so we're getting a bigger bang out of limited dollars."

A picture of a stethoscope.
jasleen_kaur / Flickr/Creative Commons

A Medicaid oversight subcommittee has approved recommendations laying out goals for reform of the state's health insurance program for low-income residents. But support for the measure was not unanimous among Republicans. 

The recommendations approved Tuesday will now go before the full Health and Human Services oversight committee.

Two-pages of findings sketch out general goals for Medicaid reform in the state. Overall, it reiterates the feeling among some lawmakers- including Senator Ralph Hise- that the primary goal in reforming Medicaid should be to cut costs.

Researchers at Duke have developed a mathematical model that shows how changes in North Carolina’s congressional voting districts could affect election outcomes.
Duke University

Back in 2012, more North Carolinians voted for Democrats than Republicans in North Carolina’s Congressional elections. But Republicans ended up winning nine out of the state’s 13 seats that year. Those numbers piqued the interest of researchers at Duke, who decided to seek a mathematical explanation for the discrepancy. They recently published a study with their results.

a thin computer with keyboard
Karlis Dambrans / Flickr/Creative Commons

State health officials would like to update North Carolina's antiquated system of recording deaths.  The Tar Heel state uses handwritten or typed documents to declare a death.  Those forms are hand-delivered through several stops from the funeral home to state records in Raleigh -- which can take at least three months. Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos told lawmakers today her department wants to move to a fully electronic system: