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
7:59 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Lawmakers Kick Off The Work Week With A Light Load And A Friendly Chat

Credit Dave DeWitt

Lawmakers began their work week with a Moral Monday protest and a light legislative schedule.

The House convened briefly in a skeleton session, while the Senate met later in the evening.

Senators passed a bill that would create a public-private economic development enterprise. It would contract with the Department of Commerce to attract companies and promote trade and tourism. The Senate's version of the bill would also start a program giving grants to film, TV, and video projects in the state. A tax incentive program expires at the end of the year.

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Politics & Government
4:41 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Economic Development Partnership Bill Advances In Legislature

Credit house.gov

A bill that would create a public-private economic development enterprise tentatively passed the House today. The measure would create a nonprofit corporation that would contract with the state Department of Commerce to attract companies and promote trade and tourism.

Republican Representative Marilyn Avila  addressed the bill's sponsor, Republican representative Tom Murry, saying she thinks the idea will help grow North Carolina's economy.

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Politics & Government
4:37 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Governor Expresses Dissatisfaction with Senate Budget Writers' Medicaid Plan

Governor Pat McCrory surrounded by physicians at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh.

Governor Pat McCrory held a news conference yesterday at the executive mansion to talk about one thing in particular he doesn’t like in the Senate budget proposal- turning Medicaid services over to a managed care organization. The governor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, hospital organizations and physicians are against the idea.

Governor McCrory held the news conference in a secluded garden at the executive mansion. Dozens of doctors wearing their long white coats gathered on the brick steps behind him.

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Politics & Government
4:35 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

House Lawmakers Pass Bill To Discourage Patent Trolls

Credit Jessica Jones

State lawmakers in the House have passed a bill that seeks to deter the practice of bringing unfounded patent claims against companies in order to win settlements.

House Bill 1032 passed unanimously Tuesday afternoon. Republican representative Tom Murry is the measure's primary sponsor.

"[The bill] will add a new section to the unfair and deceptive trade practices statute in North Carolina to go after what we call patent trolls," says Murry.

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Politics & Government
10:08 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Quiet Day at the General Assembly

Credit NC General Assembly

It was quiet at the state legislature Monday. That's because lawmakers in the Senate won't be back until Wednesday. They passed their 21.2 billion dollar budget proposal Friday night.

In the House, lawmakers gaveled in and out in a skeleton session without taking up any bills or resolutions. House lawmakers are beginning the process of putting their budget together. Meanwhile, Moral Monday protesters are rallying again in another of their series of weekly demonstrations.

 

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Politics & Government
8:10 am
Sat May 31, 2014

Senate Gives Final Approval To Budget Plan

Credit Dave DeWitt

The state Senate has passed a $21.2 billion dollar spending plan that offers big raises for teachers if they forego tenure protections. It also eliminates many teaching assistant positions. Last night, senators amended the budget to take out a provision recommending UNC study closing Elizabeth City State University. They also created a scholarship fund for teaching assistants. 

After nearly three and a half hours of debate that lasted into the evening, Senate President Phil Berger was adamant that his colleagues understand what his chamber’s budget proposal is all about.

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Politics & Government
6:14 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Lawmakers Speed Through Thursday At The Legislature

Credit NCGA

State lawmakers in Raleigh were moving at lightning speed today. Senate budget writers explained their budget plan to lawmakers. A bill abolishing privilege taxes made its way to the governor (who has now signed it.) And the House gave final approval to a fracking bill.

Senate budget writers spent all morning explaining the finer points of their plan to a packed audience. It would give 11 percent raises to teachers who forego tenure protections, and cut teacher assistants in the second and third grades.

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Politics & Government
4:41 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Proposed Senate Budget Boosts Salaries For Teachers Without Tenure, Cuts Teaching Assistants

Credit Dave DeWitt

State lawmakers in the Senate have released their budget plan, which includes the finer details of how they would pay for an 11 percent salary increase for teachers who agree to forego tenure protections. But Senate budget writers would take about $390 million out of k-12 funding. That would cut the money for teacher assistants by nearly half.

Republican Sen. Jerry Tillman says the state would keep teacher assistants for kindergarten and first grades – but get rid of about 7400 assistants in second and third grades. 

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Politics & Government
4:36 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Governor McCrory Signs Bill Eliminating Privilege Taxes

The Governor tweeted this photo today. The tweet said 'It's that time again...time to sign some bills! #ncpol #ncgov '

Governor Pat McCrory has signed a bill that will eliminate  the privilege taxes municipalities can levy on businesses. On Thursday, the state House passed the Senate version of a far-reaching tax bill, which would completely eliminate privilege taxes beginning in July of 2015.

Normally, a bill that has been altered in both chambers would go to a conference committee, where lawmakers could hash out their differences and agree on a final version. But not this time, says Rep. Paul Luebke:

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Politics & Government
7:55 am
Thu May 29, 2014

'This Is A Thorny Issue' - Senate Tentatively Passes Bill Ending Municipal Privilege Tax

Credit NC General Assembly

State lawmakers in the Senate have tentatively passed a broad tax bill that would continue to make changes to the state’s tax code.

One controversial section in the bill would eliminate certain taxes that municipalities currently levy on businesses. A House version of the bill that has already passed would only scale back- rather than eliminate- those taxes.

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