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
5:00 am
Wed January 22, 2014

NC Appeals Court Considers Public Input On Lethal Injection Protocol

North Carolina death row inmates are housed at Central Prison in Raleigh. No executions have been carried out in the state since 2006.
Credit Ted Buckner via Flickr

Members of the North Carolina Court of Appeals appeared to show Tuesday that they wanted to return to a lower court a seven-year-old case over the lethal injection chemicals the state uses in executions.

A three-judge panel heard arguments on whether the state Department of Public Safety should have followed a public rule-making process when it switched its execution procedures from a three-drug chemical mixture to a single-drug injection.

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Law
5:00 am
Mon January 20, 2014

If NC Changes How It Executes Death Row Inmates, Does The Public Have A Say?

Death row inmates are housed at Central Prison in Raleigh. No executions have been carried out in North Carolina since 2006.
Credit North Carolina Department of Public Safety

The North Carolina Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday morning on whether the state must follow a public rule-making process when changing its procedures for executing death row prisoners.

Arguments center on the Department of Public Safety switching its protocol for executions from a lethal injection of a three-drug mixture to a single-drug solution. (The change happened last fall.)

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Politics & Government
11:47 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Rocky Mount To Get Federal Help Spurring Job Creation

Edgecombe Community College is planning a biotechnology center for its Rocky Mount campus to house health care education programs.
Credit Edgecombe Community College

The city of Rocky Mount will get help with projects to stimulate job growth, revitalize blighted neighborhoods, and move grocery stores to areas that don’t have any from a team of federal experts that will work with the city for at least a year.

City administrators will get full-time help from two employees of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and from a team of outside consultants who are experts in subjects such as economic development, local and federal officials said Thursday.

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Politics & Government
9:58 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Panel Recommends Fracking Companies Maintain Some Chemical Secrets

A rig and gas well operation at the Marcellus Shale.
Credit wcn 247 / Flickr

The panel that is writing the rules that may become North Carolina’s fracking laws will not require drilling companies to disclose which chemicals they use to extract gas.

Members of the Energy and Mining Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the rule, which stumped them for more than a year and drew  input from environmental and business groups.

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Politics & Government
10:47 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

NC Grocery Store Owners Look For Reprieve From Local Tax

Mack MckLamb, president of Dunn-based grocery chain Carlie C’s, told lawmakers on Monday the Local Privilege License Tax unpredictable across the state. 'We operate sixteen stores in 12 different cities that have 12 different methods to do it,' he said.
Credit Charlie C's

The legislative committee that reviews North Carolina’s tax laws debated on Monday a tax that cities and towns levy on businesses to allow them to operate within their municipality limits.

The tax, which state lawmakers have tried to change at least five times in the last 10 years, allows local governments to charge companies a flat rate or a percentage of their revenues. It includes retailers but exempts businesses such as insurance and law offices.

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Law
3:43 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Durham Police: Officer Frisked But Did Not Find Gun Jesus Huerta Used To Shoot Himself

Friends and relatives posted pictures like these of Jesus Huerta around Durham, NC
Credit Leoneda Inge

A teenager who Durham police say fatally shot himself while in custody last year used a .45 caliber pistol that he had concealed and an officer did not discover while frisking and arresting him, police said Friday.

Officers had picked up 17-year-old Jesus Huerta the morning of Nov. 19 because his family reported him as a runaway, police said, but emergency dispatchers did not relay warnings from the family that Huerta had threatened to kill himself.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Fri January 10, 2014

NAACP: NC’s Voter ID Law Discriminates Against Hispanics And Teenagers

Rosanell Eaton, 92, and Mary E. Perry, 84, plaintiff's in the NAACP's suit, attended U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem for a hearing in December.
Credit Jorge Valencia

The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP has expanded its lawsuit against the state’s new Voter ID law to argue that it discriminates against Hispanics and to challenge its elimination of pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Sen. Hagan Steps Up Criticism Of State GOP Over Unemployment Benefits

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, flanked by state Rep. Rosa Gill (D-Wake) and state Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake), criticized Republican lawmakers for a law that disqualified the state for federal long-term jobless benefits.
Credit Jorge Valencia

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said on Monday that she’s pushing to make long-term unemployed people in North Carolina eligible again for federal emergency unemployment benefits.

Hagan, a Democrat, introduced a provision for a possible extension of nationwide unemployment benefits that would make North Carolina eligible again, she said. The state was disqualified from Emergency Unemployment Compensation last year after the Republican-led General Assembly reduced benefits at the state level.

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Politics & Government
11:25 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Moral Monday Leaders Looking To Spend 2014 Advocating For The Uninsured

The Rev. William Barber (center) speaks outside the south face of the North Carolina State Capitol building on Monday.
Credit Jorge Valencia

A judge gave permission Monday to a group that’s been protesting new North Carolina laws to rally on the grounds of the state Capitol building.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour’s decision reversed denial of a permit  earlier this month.  It served as a preamble for the new year of protests, that have become known as Moral Monday, against the Republican-controlled state legislature.

Just hours after the decision, the Rev. William Barber, one of the key Moral Monday organizers, spoke to dozens of people on a courtyard outside the Capitol, mapping out 2014.

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Law
8:06 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Criminal Charges Dropped Against Durham Panhandlers

A Durham judge dropped charges against 14 people cited with panhandling illegally.

A judge in Durham dropped criminal charges Wednesday against 14 people who were cited for panhandling. Charges were filed under a new ordinance that makes it illegal to beg for money in parts of the city.

Chief District Court Judge Marcia Morey dropped the charges as part of the court’s effort to keep offenders out of jail under the condition they not violate the ordinance again and seek help with health, addiction, housing or employment issues.

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