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.

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State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt

North Carolina cities and counties would be prohibited from being “sanctuaries” for people living in the country illegally, under a bill tentatively approved by the Senate on Thursday.
The plan would prohibit local governments from directing their police officers to not collect people’s immigration information and report it to federal authorities. Senate Republicans gave the initial nod in a largely party-line vote of 34 to 11. The House of Representatives would have to agree before sending the bill to the governor.

Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Bill Would Ban The Sale Of Fetal Tissue From Abortions

Republicans in the Senate's rules committee cleared a bill on Wednesday  that would ban the sale of fetal tissue from abortions.

House Bill 297  is a reaction to a national controversy after an anti-abortion group’s undercover videos suggested Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue from abortions.  

Photo: The North Carolina House of Representatives
Jorge Valencia

The North Carolina House and Senate approved on Tuesday afternoon a long-awaited plan to overhaul the state's Medicaid system. The proposal could affect more than 1.5 million people who receive health care through the publicly-funded program, but it could take years for it to be fully implemented.

Top Republicans celebrated on Tuesday as they passed a proposal they've been working on for four years. Medicaid serves about 1.8 million people who qualify as low-income or disabled, almost one fifth of the state population.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt

North Carolina senators acted Monday on two plans that could have a wide impact on charter schools and the state's business recruitment efforts, and debated a plan to issue $2 billion dollars in bonds to renovate and put up new buildings. A recap: 

$2B Bond Package Focuses On Colleges And Universities, Leaves Out McCrory's Highway Plan 

State Senators unveiled a plan to borrow $2 billion in bonds for building construction and renovation.

Photo: Jerome Bias of Mebane drtives a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta
Jorge Valencia

The North Carolina General Assembly approved a two-year budget that includes a plan to lower income and corporate taxes and create new service taxes. Top Republicans say these measures will help create an environment in which the state’s economy will grow, while some Democrats say it unfairly shifts economic burden from large corporations to middle- and low-income families.

The budget includes more than 20 pages outlining changes to North Carolina's tax system. Part of the plan:

Jorge Valencia

Last month, volunteers from North Carolina and across the country gave free dental treatment to refugees near Turkey’s border with Syria. The trip had been organized by Deah Barakat, one of the three young Muslim Americans killed in Chapel Hill February of this year. After Deah and Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha were fatally shot, Project Refugee Smiles received more than half a million dollars in donations. The group of volunteers treated more than 700 people.

Jorge Valencia


Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore outlined a two-year spending plan this afternoon that would maintain funding for elementary school teaching assistants, high school drivers’ education classes, and gives state employees a one-time bonus of $750.

Dr. Sarah Arif of Cleveland and Farris Barakat help a boy at the temporary Syrian American Medical Society dental clinic at the Al-Salaam School in Reyhanli.
Alena Advic

Months before his neighbor barged into his Chapel Hill apartment and fatally shot him, his wife and his sister-in-law, Deah Barakat had decided he wanted to help people escaping the war in Syria.

Deah, a 23-year-old student at the University Of North Carolina School Of Dentistry, had seen and heard about the escalating violence ravaging parts of his parents’ native country, so he called a dentist who was running clinics for displaced Syrians, and he told him: he wanted to take Americans to the Middle East and treat refugees.

An imafe of a Bernie Sanders rally
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

After giving speeches in Georgia and South Carolina over the weekend, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders got on stage in front of a crowd of more than nine thousand people in Greensboro Sunday evening.

He pumped up the audience to the song "Rockin' In The Free World" by Neil Young, a tune that seemed  fitting for a rally.

“Alright, are you guys ready to make a political revolution?” Sanders asked on stage followed by an enthusiastic "Yeah!" from the crowd.

An image of Jeb Bush speech
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush gave a speech just south of Raleigh on Wednesday, outlining a tax overhaul proposal that he says would spur economic growth by dramatically lowering corporate and personal income taxes. 

Bush, speaking in the warehouse of a Garner manufacturing company, laid out a plan that he said would encourage businesses to invest domestically and would end income tax liability for millions of low-income households.