Jessica Jones

Reporter

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

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:

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

State health officials and an advisory board have released a six-year plan to help fight cancer in North Carolina. The plan identifies six specific cancers that are prevalent in the state and recommends specific strategies to fight them.

Dr. Ruth Petersen is with the Department of Health and Human Services. She notes lung cancer is one of the diseases identified in the report. Petersen says causes include exposure to smoke, secondhand smoke, or radon gas.

Governor Pat McCrory says he's pleased with last night's Republican victories in both statewide and Congressional elections, although he told WUNC earlier today that some of those victories were unexpected, especially on the state level.

"I was very surprised, frankly, based upon our surveys and others, that we didn't lose any seats in the Senate- in fact, we gained one,  and we lost very few seats in the House," said McCrory.

String-like Ebola virus particles are shedding from an infected cell in this electron micrograph.
NIH/NIAID via Flickr/Creative Commons

State health officials say a patient at Duke University Hospital who so far has tested negative for the Ebola virus has posed no risk to the general public.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos and others held a call-in news conference Monday afternoon to talk about the patient, who arrived in the U.S. from Liberia on Saturday.

The patient, who remains anonymous, is currently in an isolation ward at Duke, after reporting a fever while traveling by bus to North Carolina from New Jersey.

A picture of an 'I Voted' sticker.
Vox Efx / Flickr

Four out of of seven seats on Wake County's Board of Commissioners are up for election. Republicans currently occupy those positions, but if just one of them loses, Democrats will have a majority on the board.

The Democratic and Republican candidates for the four seats up for election differentiate themselves mostly by ideology. The Republican incumbents are loath to raise taxes and are not openly supportive of a transit tax proposal. Their relationship with the county school board has been tense.

Gavel
SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond will hear oral arguments tomorrow over a North Carolina law that would require abortion providers to show patients an ultrasound and describe the image in detail.

The Republican-led state legislature passed the law back in 2011. It would require abortion providers to show their patients images of an embryo or fetus and describe them.

Six organizations quickly challenged the law, and U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles temporarily blocked the ultrasound requirement.

Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards, left, stumps for Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, right.
Jessica Jone / WUNC

With only eight days left to go before Election Day, the race for North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat is in high gear. Democratic incumbent Senator Kay Hagan is in a tight race with Republican state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis. Both campaigns are pulling out all the stops to get people to the polls- including bringing national political stars to town.

Wikipedia

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan has called for a temporary ban on travel from countries in Africa affected by Ebola.

The Hagan campaign released the senator's statement Friday afternoon. In it Hagan calls for a temporary travel ban on non-U.S. citizens from the affected countries in West Africa, and she calls on the President to take that step immediately.

Beth Wood
NC Auditor's Office

The state auditor's office is preparing detailed audits of six state government agencies in order to comply with a request from state lawmakers. Earlier this week, lawmakers on the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee asked for the audits. The request will provide specific line item details on how state funds are actually spent, says State Auditor Beth Wood.

3rd senatorial debate
Jim Morrill / Charlotte Observer via Twitter

Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis held their third and final debate in Wilmington last night.

Much of their rhetoric was familiar from their campaign ads and talking points from the first two debates. But this time they were joined by a third candidate,  Libertarian Sean Haugh, who added a fresh perspective to the format. 

Liz Bowles / UNC-TV via Twitter

Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and her challenger, state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis faced off in their second debate Tuesday night. The questions ranged from what to do about the violent Islamic State group to both candidates’ records in Washington and Raleigh. Hagan and Tillis’ exchange was noticeably sharper than it was in the first debate.

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