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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Politics & Government
10:04 am
Sat January 31, 2015

NC's Photo ID Voting Requirement May Be Challenged In Trial This July

Credit Flickr user Ken Zirkel

Voting rights advocates argued in a Wake County court on Friday that a new state law requiring voters to show photo identification at polling stations is unconstitutional because it will create a barrier to voting, keeping primarily minorities from the ballot.

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Politics & Government
7:53 am
Wed January 28, 2015

NC Attorney General Knocks GOP Lawmakers

Credit N.C. Democratic Party

Attorney General Roy Cooper says he'll continue to criticize Republican policies during the legislative session that begins Wednesday, hinting once again hinting that he might run for governor in 2016.  
 

At a luncheon held by the women’s group Lillian's List, Cooper told a few hundred Democrats that he supports issues such as abortion rights and expanding Medicaid in North Carolina.

He hasn't announced his candidacy for governor, but he’s widely seen as the most likely Democrat to try to unseat Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

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Politics & Government
7:43 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Ex-NC Lawmaker Pleads Guilty To Federal Theft Charge

Stephen LaRoque served as co-chair of the North Carolina House of Representatives' powerful Rules Comittee before he was indicted in 2012 by the U.S. Attorney's office in Raleigh.
Credit North Carolina General Assembly

Stephen LaRoque, a former high-ranking member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting theft at a federal court in Greenville on Monday.

LaRoque, who resigned his house seat after he was indicted in 2012, entered a plea as part of a deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, allowing him to avoid a trial originally scheduled for next week. He will pay $300,000 in restitution and faces up to 10 years in prison, the attorney’s office said in a statement. Sentencing is scheduled for May 12.

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Breaking
1:00 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

'Let Me Be The First In The State Of North Carolina To Apologize To Mr. Sledge'

Joseph Sledge and his attorney Christine Mumma 1/23/15
Jorge Valencia

A man held in a North Carolina prison for most of his life was released on Friday, after a special panel found he had been wrongfully convicted of a double murder in 1976.

Following a brief hearing in Columbus County, a specially appointed three-judge panel found Joseph Sledge had proven he was innocent of the stabbing deaths of a mother and her adult daughter in neighboring Bladen County.

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Law
9:05 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Why Wasn’t Officer Darren Wilson Indicted In The Death Of Michael Brown? UNC Law Forum Seeks Answers

The University of North Carolina School of Law
Credit Photo by Caroline Culler

Prosecutors, defense attorneys, activists and former police officers will discuss the deaths of unarmed minorities at the hands of law enforcement at a forum at the University of North Carolina School of Law today.

The forum, organized by law school professors, will include three panels examining civil rights, self defense, and the use of force from legal, historical and activist perspectives, said Associate Professor Tamar Birckhead, one of the organizers.

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Business & Economy
5:00 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Raleigh City Council Members Still Don't Know What To Do About Airbnb

Doris Jurkiewicz, owner of the Oakwood Inn Bed and Breakfast in downtown Raleigh, delivered to council members copies of a guest column she wrote for the Raleigh News & Observer, urging them to implement similar permitting requirements for online rental services than they do for her business.
Credit Jorge Valencia

Raleigh council members are continuing to debate how to manage the growing number of homes whose owners are listing on sites such as airbnb.com for short term rentals.
 

In a report he presented at a council meeting Tuesday, Raleigh Planning Director Travis Crane said the rental listings could represent additional income for property owners and the city, but can generate additional traffic and a parking crunch in residential areas.

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Politics & Government
6:15 am
Thu January 1, 2015

North Carolina Cuts Film Incentives To $10M Per Year

Portions of Iron Man 3 were filmed in Kenansville, Rose Hill and Oak Island.
Credit Marvel

North Carolina will offer up to $10 million a year until 2020 to encourage video production companies to film in the state, as part of the new incentives package going into effect today.

The state's new grant program will give preference to filmmakers who use "economically distressed" locations or show attractions that could promote tourism to the state, according to guidelines drafted by the N.C. Film Office.

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Politics & Government
4:11 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Appeals Court Says Doctors Can't Be Forced To Describe Sonograms Before Abortions

Credit Flickr user Etolane

A North Carolina law that requires abortion providers to take a woman's sonogram and describe it to her in detail is unconstitutional because it violate's the woman's free speech rights, a U.S. appeals court said on Monday.

A three-judge panel on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond unanimously ruled that the state cannot require physicians to disseminate its message discouraging abortions. The ruling upholds a district judge's decision.

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Health
4:09 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Dozens Say NC's Proposed Rules For Abortion Clinics Are OK, But A Few Disagree

Credit Flickr user takomabibelot

Dozens of people advocating for and against abortion rights filled a room at the North Carolina health department headquarters on Friday morning to respond to proposed rules that will apply to the 14 clinics that provide abortion in the state.

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Law
8:50 am
Fri December 12, 2014

More Than 4,000 Mentally Ill People Are Inmates In North Carolina’s Prisons

Central Prison in Raleigh
Credit North Carolina Department of Public Safety

About 12 percent of the inmates in North Carolina's prisons are mentally ill, state prisons administrators told lawmakers at a hearing this week.

Administrators, including David Guice, the commissioner for the state Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, said the they're starting a re-structuring of how they handle the roughly 4,600 mentally ill inmates. They're beginning to concentrate transfer some inmates and concentrate some services in some locations - instead of having them spread among the roughly 37,000 inmate population throughout the system's 56 facilities.

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