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.

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Politics & Government
5:16 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

State Lawmakers Tentatively Approve Bill Ending Privilege Taxes

Credit Dave DeWitt

State lawmakers in the Senate have tentatively approved a far-ranging tax bill that would end the ability of municipalities to levy special taxes on businesses.

The Senate version of the bill would end what's called the privilege tax. It brings in $62 million a year to municipalities across the state.

Business leaders have long complained that the taxes vary widely and are not fairly levied. Republican Senator Tommy Tucker, who's a small business owner, is in favor of the bill.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Tuesday Wrapup At The Legislature

Credit Jorge Valencia

The state legislature was busy yesterday, with Moral Monday protesters staging a sit-in and discussions over tax code changes and e-cigarettes.

Moral Monday protesters decided to come to the legislature yesterday even though it was Tuesday, the day after the Memorial Day holiday. They gathered on the back lawn and then began lobbying inside the building. They ended up staging a sit-in in and outside House Speaker Thom Tillis' office.

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Politics & Government
9:51 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Today At The General Assembly: Highlights - Tuesday May 27

Credit NC General Assembly

Lawmakers had a slower start to the week today because of the Memorial Day holiday. This morning, in the House education committee, lawmakers discussed ways to make school bus operations more efficient.

Around lunchtime, Moral Monday protesters gathered behind the building to hear speeches from North Carolina NAACP President William Barber and others. They plan to lobby every member of the General Assembly to reverse some of the laws passed last year. Earlier this afternoon, some protesters were going door to door to individual lawmakers.

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Politics & Government
4:58 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

NC Closer To Raising Age At Which Teens Can Be Tried As Adults

Concertina wire surrounding a prison
Credit Kate Ter Harr / Flickr/Creative Commons

Yesterday, in the state House, lawmakers passed a bill that would allow 16 and 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors to be referred to the juvenile justice system, rather than trying them as adults. The measure has been a long time coming.

The so-called “Raise the Age” bill passed 77 to 39 with broad bipartisan support. Republican representative Marilyn Avila of Wake County is the bill’s main sponsor.

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Politics & Government
8:07 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

NC House Lawmakers Pass Bill To Raise Age At Which Teens Can Be Charged As Adults

Credit www.ncleg.net

State lawmakers in the House have passed a bill that would raise the age at which North Carolina teens can be charged as adults. North Carolina is one of only two states that still treat 16- and 17-year-old offenders as adults. Republican representative Marilyn Avila is a sponsor of the bill.

"This bill is one that I feel like North Carolina needs to consider because we’re one of only two states who do not have our 16 and 17-year-old juvenile delinquents placed in the juvenile justice system. They go into the adult system," said Avila.

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Politics & Government
5:40 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

House Lawmakers Tentatively Pass Broad Tax Bill

Credit NC General Assembly

State lawmakers in the House have tentatively passed a broad tax bill that would limit the power of local governments to tax businesses.The bill would also tax electronic cigarettes.

The bill limits the authority of cities and towns to levy privilege taxes on businesses. Critics say the taxes are unwieldy and should be streamlined, but many municipal officials aren't happy about the measure, saying they earn significant revenues from those taxes. They would be capped at a hundred dollars per year.

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Health
8:00 am
Sat May 17, 2014

Health Officials Approve Proposed Rule Requiring Meningitis Vaccine

Credit Wake Med

State health officials have approved a measure that would require rising 7th graders to receive the meningitis vaccine.

One more administrative step is required before the vaccination would become mandatory. The vaccine is for meningitis and other meningococcal diseases. Bacterial meningitis is most common in people between the ages of 15 and 21, but only about half of thi state's teenagers currently receive the vaccination.
 

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Politics & Government
3:25 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

State Lawmakers Adopt New Rules Affecting Protesters

Credit Matthew Lenard

State legislators have redefined the rules laying out how people may gather in protest at the General Assembly.

They were approved by the Legislative Services Commission on Thursday. The measures are a rewrite of rules last changed in 1987. The updates prohibit activities that cause an "imminent disturbance," and they more clearly define what kinds of signs can be used.

Republican Tim Moore chairs the committee:

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Politics & Government
8:37 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Governor Pat McCrory Releases His Budget Proposal

Governor Pat McCrory has released his budget proposal.
Credit Jessica Jones

Governor Pat McCrory released his budget proposal yesterday, on the first day of the General Assembly’s short session. The $21 billion proposal includes raises for teachers and state employees as well new positions and equipment designed to oversee coal ash disposal. But it cuts about $49 million that would go to the University of North Carolina system.

As legislators walked into the General Assembly for the first day of this year’s short session, protesters- including a group of women called the Raging Grannies- were ready to greet them.

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Politics & Government
5:34 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Governor McCrory Unveils Budget Proposal

Credit Dave DeWitt

Governor McCrory has unveiled a $21 billion budget proposal that includes raises for teachers and state employees, promotes more oversight of coal ash ponds, and adds $50 million to the state's rainy day fund. But it also includes a $49 million cut to the University of North Carolina system.

"We’ve had to make some very very difficult decisions. Which we think will have a positive impact on the future. This budget proposal has already been shared with top budget legislators in the House and the Senate, and therefore nothing should come as a surprise," says McCrory.

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