Jorge Valencia

Capitol Reporter

Jorge Valencia joined North Carolina Public Radio's reporting team in 2013. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Jorge studied journalism at the University of Maryland and reported for four years for the Roanoke Times in Virginia before joining the station in 2012. His reporting has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, and the Baltimore Sun. On Twitter: @jorgeavalencia.

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Law
11:15 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage NC: Some Nervous Even After Wedding Bells

The Rev. John L. Saxon presided over the marriage of Lynn Gaskins, 31, left, and Christy Alston, 34, outside of the Wake County Justice Center.
Credit Jorge Valencia

Dozens of same-sex couples have been rushing to county courthouses throughout the state to get married.

While many say they're full of excitement, there are also some nerves: Questions about what it means to get married, and what their family will legally look like.

Some who oppose gay marriage are also making their voices heard.

Lynn Gaskins and Christy Alston got married in Raleigh on Monday. Even after the ceremony, Alston was edgy.

"I'm nervous. Still nervous. It's a big responsibility. I can't believe I'm married now. Wow."

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Politics & Government
1:14 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Election 2014 In NC: 'Who's Going To Be Madder' Might Decide Some Races

Credit Flickr user Erik Hersman

Friday was the deadline to register to vote in North Carolina. The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the state's new voting law to be in place, eliminating same-day registration in the days before the election. In response, some groups increased their voter registration efforts. The Durham Board of Elections has been getting so many registrations that they doubled their staff from six to 12.

Judy Harwood usually works at the front desk, but the other day she was typing up names and addresses in an overflow room in the back of the building.

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Politics & Government
8:30 am
Sat October 11, 2014

Chad And Chris Get Hitched In NC

Wake County Register of Deeds Laura Riddick with Chris Creech (left), 46, and Chad Biggs, 35, the first couple who would be getting a license there.
Credit Jorge Valencia

Same-sex marriage is now legal in North Carolina. This comes after a two-year battle in the courts and one week of high anticipation. Late on Friday afternoon, a federal judge in Asheville declared the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage illegal.

Chad Biggs and Chris Creech got married at 6:02 p.m. in front of the bright lights of television and still cameras.

It wasn't the kind of intimacy they'd once imagined, but it was in Wake County and close to home -- unlike the time they flew to another state to try to legally marry.

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Law
5:39 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

NC Officials Preparing For Influx Of Same-Sex Couples Looking To Marry

Chantelle and Marcie Fisher-Borne and family
Credit Jorge Valencia

Craig Johnson and Shawn Long are being cautious. The U.S. Supreme Court's refusal on Monday to hear five pending same-sex marriage cases could possibly lead to gay marriage in North Carolina -- if a federal judge in Greensboro issues an order for it.

Still, Johnson and Long are making plans. If they are allowed to marry, they plan to do it quickly, and not waste time making elaborate plans.

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Politics & Government
9:49 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Federal Judge In Greensboro Could Clear Way For Gay Marriage In NC

U.S. Supreme Court
Credit Flickr user Sno Shuu

A federal judge in Greensboro could clear the way for gay marriage in North Carolina, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal on Monday to hear five pending same-sex marriage cases.

Middle District Court Judge William Osteen, who has the authority to order North Carolina to allow same-sex unions, said on Monday that he wanted to hear from both parties in a case challenging the state’s constitutional Amendment One, defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

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Politics & Government
8:45 am
Thu October 2, 2014

NC Voters Can Register Same Day They Vote During Early Voting Period, Federal Court Says

Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry are plaintiffs in the NAACP’s case challenging North Carolina’s Voter ID law.
Credit Jorge Valencia

A federal appeals court has suspended parts of North Carolina’s new voting law, saying it may disproportionately affect black voters. State lawmakers are already asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the decision.

The ruling will allow voters to register on the same day they cast a ballot during early voting, and to vote outside of their assigned precinct.

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Politics & Government
8:48 am
Wed October 1, 2014

New NC Laws On Coal Ash, Drones And Taxes Go Into Effect Today

Under a new NC law, an unmanned aircraft can’t be used for secret surveillance or to take pictures for mass circulation without the subjects’ permission.
Credit Chris Goldberg / Flickr/Creative Commons

A series of laws passed by the General Assembly this summer will go into effect today, affecting areas of construction, pollution and privacy. The variety in legislation reflects the broad reach of the state House and Senate this year.

Coal Ash

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Politics & Government
8:35 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Why Many NC Voters Don't Know Who They'll Elect To The Supreme Court

Justice Robin Hudson (center) and Judge Eric Levinson spoke with at a Supreme Court candidate forum in Raleigh in September moderated by Donna Martinez (left).
Credit Jorge Valencia

With five weeks to go before Election Day, candidates for the state’s highest court are trying to get some attention. And they’re spending more time raising campaign funds because the legislature eliminated state funding for judicial races last year.

Campaign ads for the Supreme Court are usually pretty civil. They're kind of like one from Justice Bob Hunter, in which a narrator says: "In the North Carolina Legal system, one quality must stand out: Fairness." In the video, three young people hold a sign that says "fairness" and a then flip it over to say, "Bob Hunter!"

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Politics & Government
10:22 am
Sat September 20, 2014

Wake County District Attorney To Dismiss Hundreds Of 'Moral Monday' Protest Cases

Raleigh's top prosecutor's says he'll dismiss hundreds of cases against people who were arrested for protesting at the state Capitol last year.
Credit NAACP

In the above interview, host Catherine Brand speaks with Capitol Reporter Jorge Valencia about Raleigh's top prosecutor's decision to dismiss hundreds of cases against people who were arrested for protesting at the state Capitol last year.

In talking about the decision, District Attorney Ned Mangum referenced a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Massachusetts law limiting protests outside abortion clinics. He says the District and Superior courts in Wake County have cited the case to dismiss some protest cases here.

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Health
9:17 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Underage Drinking Starts As Early As Age 11, NC Alcohol Officials Say

Credit Flickr user Steve Mclaughlin

The North Carolina Alcohol Beverage Control Commission is preparing an advertising campaign against underage drinking.

According to an ABC survey, up to 40 percent of children in North Carolina have consumed alcohol before they get to the ninth grade.

ABC Chairman Jim Gardner says part of the motivation behind the campaign is another, more stark, statistic.

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