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.

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Vote Graffiti
Kodak Views / Flickr/Creative Commons

A poll released by Elon University gives Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan a four-point lead over her Republican challenger, state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis.

Hagan has support from 45 percent of residents who are likely to vote, while Tillis has 41 percent. According to the poll, 9 percent of voters say they support someone else, and 5 percent are undecided.

Professor Kenneth Fernandez is the director of the Elon University Poll.

Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis shake hands after the debate at UNC-TV Wednesday night.
Mike Oniffrey / UNC-TV

Democratic Senator Kay Hagan and Republican state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis held their first televised debate Wednesday night. The race is one of a handful of closely watched contests across the country that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate next year.

The debate was a fast-paced hour of topics that ran the gamut from health care to foreign policy.

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

This evening, Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and Republican Speaker of the North Carolina House Thom Tillis will square off in their first debate of the campaign season.

The much-anticipated first debate between Senator Hagan and Speaker Tillis will be broadcast on WUNC-FM and on television outlets across the state. It begins at 7:00 p.m.

Federal Building, Winston-Salem
Jessica Jones

The U.S. Department of Justice has accused Sheriff Johnson of racially profiling and illegally detaining members of the Hispanic community. Yesterday attorneys for the federal government called John Lamberth, a social psychologist, to the stand. He's an expert on racial profiling.

Lamberth conducted a study using data from 2008 to 2013 showing that Hispanics in Alamance County were seven times more likely to be given tickets than other people.

Alamance County Sheriff's vehicle
Alamance County Sheriff's Office

Today is the second day of the federal trial for Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson. Several current and former sheriff's deputies took the stand yesterday.

The U.S. Justice Department has accused Johnson of racial profiling and arresting and detaining members of the Hispanic community without probable cause.

Several past and present law enforcement officials testified on the opening day of the trial yesterday. It was held in federal district court in Winston-Salem.

Alamance County Sheriff's vehicle
Alamance County Sheriff's Office

A federal case against the Alamance county sheriff accused of illegally targeting Latino drivers is going to trial today.

The U.S. Justice Department has accused Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson of illegally targeting Latino drivers as well as arresting and detaining people without probable cause.

North Carolina House Chamber
Jessica Jones

Lawmakers in the state House have tentatively passed a 21 billion dollar budget adjustment for this fiscal year. It would give teachers average 7 percent raises at a cost of 282 million dollars. Republicans say the spending plan is sustainable. But Democrats in the House are asking whether the combination of pay raises and this year’s lower tax rates will be sustainable over the long term. 

Leaders in the House began debating the budget conference report at 10 a.m. today. Appropriations Chair Nelson Dollar began by presenting what the bill stands for.

Southern Appalachian Brook Trout
creative commons

State lawmakers in both chambers have approved a measure that would weaken environmental rules protecting rivers and streams in North Carolina.

Among other things, Senate Bill 883 would reduce the ratio of land that has to be mitigated when developers and others damage the banks of those waterways. That kind of damage is a major contributor to poor water quality.

Jane Blackburn and Lyn McCoy speak at an ACLU news conference.
Carol Jackson

ACLU attorneys challenging the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in North Carolina plan to ask a U.S. District Court judge in Greensboro for swift resolution of the issue. This comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down Virginia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Monday. Since that court has jurisdiction over North Carolina, supporters of same-sex marriage here say it’s only a matter of time before this state’s ban crumbles as well.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

Leaders of the state House and Senate have agreed on a framework for a budget for the fiscal year that has already started. They're expected to spell out the details this week.

Late Saturday afternoon, Speaker of the House Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger both tweeted that their chambers had agreed upon a budget framework. They said they'd release more details this week.

The spending plan is expected to include teacher raises of about 7 percent and save teacher assistants' jobs.