Jorge Valencia

Capitol Reporter

Jorge Valencia has been with North Carolina Public Radio since 2012. 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. 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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Business & Economy
8:23 am
Wed November 19, 2014

How Will North Carolina Tax And Regulate Airbnb And Uber?

Credit North Carolina General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers are taking their first look at how to regulate networks of individuals who buy and sell services between each other, a billion-dollar global industry that already operates in dozens of cities across the state.

One of the peer-to-peer economy’s biggest exponents, Airbnb, accounts for about 2,700 residential rental listings across North Carolina, and drivers who pick up passengers with their personal cars using the application Uber operate in ten cities here.

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Politics & Government
8:33 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

This Is The One Race In The NC General Assembly That Will Go To A Re-Count

Republican John Alexander, left, and Democrat Tom Bradshaw have worked on community projects in Raleigh since the 1970s
Credit Alexander for NC Senate, Tom Bradshaw for NC Senate

Former Raleigh Mayor Tom Bradshaw requested a recount on Monday afternoon in his race for the North Carolina Senate against Republican John Alexander, with 701 votes separating them in the closest General Assembly contest this year.

Alexander led Bradshaw by .86 percent in a race with a turn-out of about 82,000 voters, according to certified Wake County Board of Elections results.
 

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Politics & Government
1:57 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

NC Gov. Pat McCrory Sues General Assembly Leaders Over Separation Of Powers

Gov. Pat McCrory
Credit Dave DeWitt

Governor Pat McCrory has filed a suit against House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger, saying he's trying to stop them from usurping executive powers.

The lawsuit, filed in Wake County Superior Court, alleges violations of the separation of powers, executive power, and appointments provisions of the state Constitution, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. Former governors Jim Hunt, a Democrat, and Jim Martin, a Republican, joined McCrory in the filing.

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Business & Economy
10:07 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

NC Businesses Will Not Have To Pay An Expected Unemployment Insurance Tax Increase

North Carolina leaders say businesses won't have to pay higher unemployment insurance taxes while the state still owes the federal government money.
Credit Wikimedia

The U.S. Department of Labor has waived an anticipated federal unemployment tax increase on North Carolina businesses, as the state continues to pay millions it borrowed from the federal government to pay for state insurance benefits. 

The waiver reduces employers’ tax hike for the 2014 tax year up to $65 per employee, or about $180 million collectively for employers across the state, officials said.

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Military
8:12 am
Wed November 12, 2014

For Fort Bragg Couple, Military Service Leads To Marriage And U.S. Citizenship

Fourth from left, Webton Webley

This is a story about two new Americans: Webton Webley, a 26-year-old active service member of the U.S. Army, and his wife 23-year-old Sherell Perry-Webley, an U.S. Army reservist.

Sherell's and Webton's lives in the U.S. have been closely intertwined. They went to the same high school in Jamaica, and Sherell eventually got a green card through her mom, who was living in Fort Lauderdale. Webton arrived to Florida on a visa to study at Miami-Dade College. Webton says that's actually the first place they spoke.

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Politics & Government
8:43 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Study: 1 In 10 NC Inmates Are Held In Solitary Every Day

North Carolina Central Prison in Raleigh
Credit Dept. of Public Safety

Staff from North Carolina prisons frequently use solitary confinement to discipline inmates, even though it’s costly and ineffective at decreasing violence, according to a new study from the UNC School of Law.

About nine percent of state inmates were being held in long-term solitary confinement on multiple dates between 2012 and 2014. That's higher than the rate of six percent in Texas and the federal prison system and the rate of eight percent in New York before a court ordered the state review its practices, the study found.

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Politics & Government
8:32 pm
Sun November 2, 2014

More People Vote Early Than In Last Midterm Election

Credit Flickr user Jeffrey Cohen

More North Carolina voters cast their ballots early this year than did in the last mid-term elections, according to State Board of Elections figures released Sunday. A new election law limited the number of early voting days but increased the total hours.

Roughly 1.1 million people voted by mail or in person at polling stations by the end of early voting on Saturday, up 20 percent from 961,000 in 2010, the board of elections said.

Here are three possible causes for the increased turn-out:
 

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Politics & Government
7:52 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Conservative Activist Says Six NC Political Campaigns Encouraged Illegal Votes

Credit Flickr user Katri Niemi

A conservative activist known for making undercover videos of what he says is illegal or unethical political conduct says he’s found campaign volunteers at six local North Carolina campaigns giving inaccurate information about voting eligibility.
 

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Politics & Government
7:26 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Long-Time Friends, Now Political Opponents Vie To Represent Northern Wake County

Republican John Alexander, left, and Democrat Tom Bradshaw have worked on community projects in Raleigh since the 1970s
Credit Alexander for NC Senate, Tom Bradshaw for NC Senate

The friendship between Tom Bradshaw and John Alexander has lasted more than 40 years, and has revolved around YMCA gymnasiums.

Bradshaw has been dedicated to the Y since he went to youth camps growing up. And Alexander, whose father got involved decades ago, has spent much of his life at the YMCA.  

They’re both on the executive board of the YMCA of the Triangle and on other community boards.

This year they both want to be the state senator for the northern part of Wake County.

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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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