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
6:00 am
Fri June 3, 2011

Lawmakers Vote to Allow Higher Interest Rates

 Lawmakers in the state House have approved a bill that would allow companies offering small loans to increase their interest rates. Jessica Jones reports the companies often target military customers. 

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Politics & Government
6:31 pm
Wed June 1, 2011

State Senate Tentatively Passes Budget Plan

Earlier today, lawmakers in the state Senate tentatively approved a 19-point-7 billion dollar spending plan for the next two years. The framework of the plan was a reworked budget proposal released earlier this week after negotiations between Republican leaders in both the House and the Senate.

Republican budget writer Richard Stevens was the first lawmaker to speak about the plan- otherwise known as House Bill 200- on the Senate floor earlier today. He told his colleagues that he and other Republicans have produced the kind of plan they promised they would.

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Politics & Government
6:00 pm
Tue May 31, 2011

Republicans Reach New Budget Agreement

 Republican leaders in the legislature have come up with a new budget they hope members of both parties will pass. 

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Politics & Government
5:00 pm
Thu May 26, 2011

Democrats Decry Smart Start Reductions

Democratic leaders at the legislature say they're unhappy with the Republican-authored Senate budget proposal that would cut Smart Start. It's a nationally recognized early childhood program for low-income families across the state. The Senate plan would strip funding for the program by 20 percent, as does the House budget proposal passed a few weeks ago. But the Senate proposal would also dissolve the parent organization that oversees Smart Start and shift its administration to the Division of Child Development. Democrat Joe Hackney is the Minority Leader in the House.

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Politics & Government
6:00 pm
Tue May 24, 2011

GOP Senate Leaders Release Budget Plan

Republican leaders in the state Senate have released a $19.4 billion dollar budget that would still make deep cuts to education. The Senate plan would give more money to public schools and universities than a House plan passed a few weeks ago, but community colleges would receive less funding. The proposed Senate budget would also lower personal income taxes, exempt small businesses from paying some taxes and establish merit pay for teachers. Phil Berger is the President Pro Tem of the Senate.

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Politics & Government
10:00 am
Fri May 20, 2011

Bill Limiting Abortions Gains Traction

A bill that opponents of abortion rights have pushed for years is moving through the state legislature. House Bill 854, known as the "Woman's Right to Know Act," would mandate counseling, a waiting period, and an ultrasound before a woman could receive an abortion. Supporters of the bill say the measure would give women more information to make an informed choice. But opponents say the measure is designed to intimidate women.

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Politics & Government
5:29 pm
Wed May 18, 2011

Governor, GOP Reach Agreement on Health Plan

 The governor and Republican legislative leaders have reached an agreement on how to fund the State Health Plan.

 Governor Perdue vetoed a health plan bill last month because she wasn't happy with the idea of teachers paying premiums. Under that plan, all state employees would've had to pay premiums for the first time. But now the governor and Republican leaders have agreed not to charge healthy workers any premiums at all.

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Law
6:00 am
Wed May 18, 2011

Easley's Former Aide Sentenced

A top aide to former Governor Mike Easley has been sentenced to a year in prison for failing to report a thirty thousand dollar profit on his taxes.

 U.S. District Court Judge Terence Boyle sentenced 39-year-old Ruffin Poole to 12 months in prison. He must also pay a thirty thousand dollar fine. Investigators found that Poole used his position as the former governor's aide to speed up the environmental permitting process at a new development in Carteret County.

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Education
4:29 pm
Thu May 12, 2011

School Districts Beginning to Lay Off Teachers

Many school districts are beginning to lay off teachers and other employees in anticipation of deep budget cuts by lawmakers. A budget plan approved by the state House would cut public education by almost a billion dollars. State senators haven't come up with a final plan yet, but Republican budget writers say they'd like to cut a hundred million dollars more than the House would. Jennifer Tuft is a kindergarten teacher in Randolph County who found out last week that her position will be cut. 

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Health
5:33 pm
Wed May 11, 2011

Bill Seeks to Limit Abortions in North Carolina

A legislative committee has approved a measure that seeks to limit abortions in the state. 

 House Bill 854 would require a woman seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours before undergoing the procedure. It would mandate counseling that would include information about the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the fetus. And it would require the medical professionals performing the abortion to give their patient an ultrasound at least four hours before the procedure.

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