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
7:58 am
Mon June 2, 2014

NC General Assembly Stories We’re Following: Week Of Monday, June 2

The old North Carolina State Capitol building.
Credit Bill Dickinson via Flickr

The North Carolina legislature is set this week to begin the third step in preparing adjustments for the state's annual budget. Members of the House of Representatives are expected to prepare their proposal in subcommittees, members of the full Appropriations Committee may then go over it next week, and the full chamber may vote on it also next week, Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) told WRAL-TV.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Fri May 30, 2014

North Carolina Is One Step Closer To Lifting Its De-Facto Moratorium On Fracking

A drill rig in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale.
Credit Ken Skipper, USGS

Members of the North Carolina General Assembly sent Gov. Pat McCrory a bill on Thursday night that would allow the state to issue permits for hydraulic fracturing as early as May 2015, effectively lifting the state’s de-facto moratorium on the controversial shale gas drilling method.

McCrory is a long-time supporter of hydraulic fracturing and is likely to sign the bill into law.

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Politics & Government
9:47 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

NC General Assembly Summary: Wednesday, May 28

Credit Dave DeWitt

North Carolina lawmakers continued moving quickly through their short legislative session on Wednesday. A brief summary on teacher pay, fracking and taxes:
 
Republican Senate leaders came out with a plan to raise teacher pay. On average, they want to offer an 11 percent raise. But teachers would only be eligible if they give up their tenure. Senators say the state would spend close to half a billion dollars, and are expected to elaborate today on where that money will come from.
 

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Politics & Government
9:30 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Protesters Would Not Leave Thom Tillis' Office Last Night; Here's What Happened, Hour By Hour

The scene in House Speaker Thom Thillis' office in the middle of the night.
Credit Jorge Valencia

Fourteen people were arrested overnight at the General Assembly after sitting in and demanding to speak with House Speaker Thom Tillis. They were there lobbying for more than 10 hours with organizers of the Moral Monday protests.
 

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Politics & Government
5:24 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

NC General Assembly Stories We’re Following: Week Of Tuesday, May 27

The NC Legislative Building
Credit Jorge Valencia

The biggest piece of legislation expected when North Carolina law makers return from the Memorial Day weekend is the Senate’s budget proposal for the fiscal year, which starts July 1. The office of Rules Committee Chairman Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville) said on Friday that a budget could be made public this week, and the office of Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger Jr. (R-Eden) similarly said a budget will be released “in the coming days.”

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Politics & Government
8:11 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

NC Senate Wants Fracking In The State By July 2015, But House May Not Be Ready

Drilling companies would possibly extract natural gas from Lee County.
Credit Donald Lee Pardue via Flickr

The North Carolina Senate has tentatively approved legislation that would lift the state’s de-facto moratorium on hydraulic fracturing next year, but will likely be challenged by the House of Representatives and Governor Pat McCrory.

The bill, known as the Energy Modernization Act, calls for the state to start issuing permits for drilling companies to extract natural gas through the controversial drilling method known as fracking on July 1, 2015.

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Politics & Government
7:43 am
Wed May 21, 2014

NC Senate Committees Move State One Step Closer To Fracking

Lee County is one of the part of North Carolina that has shown potential for the extraction of natural gas.
Credit Donald Lee Pardue via Flickr

Two North Carolina legislative committees recommended on Tuesday that the state begin issuing permits in July next year for mining companies to extract natural gas in the state using a controversial drilling method known as fracking.

State lawmakers looked at different types of fracking legislation in 2012 and 2013. On Tuesday, the senate’s commerce and finance committees sent the bill to the senate floor for a vote. Sen. Buck Newton (R-Wilson) is one of the sponsors.

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Politics & Government
7:57 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Recap: First 'Moral Monday' Rally Of This Legislative Season

Rev. William Barber (center) is the lead organizer of the Moral Monday movement.
Credit Jorge Valencia

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of the Legislative Building Monday afternoon. It was the beginning of what they say is a second year of rallies in response to laws passed by the state’s Republican-led legislature.

Like many of last year’s Moral Monday rallies, this one started like a party. But it wasn’t exactly a celebration. People protested new laws affecting education, Medicaid and voting.

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Politics & Government
8:55 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

NC House Members May Consider Lowering Local Business Tax, Classifying E-Cigs As Non Tobacco

Mack MckLamb, president of Dunn-based grocery chain Carlie C’s, testified before lawmakers this year saying 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

Some North Carolina lawmakers want to limit a tax cities can charge local businesses.

State lawmakers have been trying to resolve this for more than 10 years: A tax that businesses have to pay cities to set up shop there.

On Thursday, a committee sent a bill to the House of Representatives limiting the tax to $100.

But some cities say that cuts an important source of revenue. Charlotte, for instance, would lose more than $8 million.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Thu May 15, 2014

What Does The NC Senate Want To Do About The State’s Toxic Coal Ash Ponds?

A 2012 photo of a 2008 coal ash spill in Tennessee.
Credit Appalachian Voices / via Creative Commons/Flickr

The first piece of legislation leaders of the North Carolina Senate introduced in this summer’s legislative session looks at Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds across the state.

That means that on Wednesday, their first day in session this year, the senate’s Republican leadership sent a clear signal that it’s a priority for them to resolve the state’s issue of toxic coal ash dumps. What they didn't send was a clear picture of how they want to resolve it.

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