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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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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Politics & Government
6:07 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Fact Checking Art Pope And William Barber’s Impromptu Debate

Rev. William Barber of the N.C. NAACP called for pickets outside Rose and Maxwell stores, which are owned by the family of state Budget Director Art Pope. Barber and Pope briefly debated outside the state Administration Building on Dec. 2.
Credit Jorge Valencia

An accidental debate between state budget director Art Pope and state NAACP President Rev. William Barber this month was a rare chance encounter between two of the best known conservative and liberal voices in state politics.

The setting was familiar: Rev. Barber has been publicly railing for months against laws passed by North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature, and on Dec. 2 he called a news conference to criticize Pope in front of his offices in the state Administration Building.

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Politics & Government
11:54 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Professors: NC Conservative Think Tank Trying To 'Bully' Chapel Hill Instructor

Nancy MacLean, a professor of history and public policy at Duke University, and members of the Scholars for North Carolina’s Future called on Gov. Pat McCrory to speak out against what they say are intimidation efforts by conservative think tank Civitas Institute.
Credit Jorge Valencia

A group of professors from public and private colleges across North Carolina has for months been criticizing a conservative think tank in Raleigh: They say the non-profit Civitas Institute purports to be independent, but really is an arm of the state Republican Party, and that it is trying to bully liberal academics in the state’s public university system.

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Business & Economy
5:00 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Increase In November Home Sales Points To Improving Local Economy

Credit Images of Money via Flickr

Purchases of homes in the Triangle region continued to rise in November, showing the local economy is still improving.

Sales rose by 10 percent and the number of homes for sale dropped by 11  percent, compared to the same month a year earlier, according to Triangle Multiple Listing Services data.

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Law
5:00 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Challenges To NC’s Voter ID Law Will Be Heard After 2014 Elections

Rosanell Eaton, 92, and Mary E. Perry, 84, are plaintiffs in the NAACP’s case challenging North Carolina’s Voter ID law. They attended U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem for Thursday’s scheduling hearing. 'At least we got it going in the system,' Perry said. 'That’s the main thing.'
Credit Jorge Valencia

A federal judge has ruled that challenges to the North Carolina law that requires voters to show identification at polling stations will not be heard until after the mid-term elections of 2014.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake said in a a hearing Thursday that the law was too complex to be thoroughly reviewed prior to the November elections. Peake scheduled a trial for July 2015.

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