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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North Carolina General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers met a Friday deadline to complete a court-ordered rewrite of the state's congressional voting maps. They also postponed the congressional primary until June 7. 

The new plans will move forward after the U.S. Supreme Court late Friday declined Republican lawmakers' request to stay the lower court order. Here are some of the key takeaways from the redesign:

Why did the General Assembly re-draw the maps?

Photo: Proposed legislative maps of 2016
North Carolina General Assembly

February 19 update:  Lawmakers gave final approval to the new maps on Friday.

North Carolina lawmakers are just steps away from rearranging the state’s congressional districts and eliminating runoff elections. The actions are at the behest of a federal court’s finding of unconstitutional racial gerrymandering in two of the state's congressional districts.

Photo: Sen. Bob Rucho, a Republican from Mecklenburg County
Jorge Valencia

Republican legislative leaders proposed a new outline for North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts on Wednesday, moving two incumbents out of districts they represent and likely pushing the primary elections for congress past the scheduled March 15 date.

Lawmakers, responding to a federal court ruling that said they had racially gerrymandered some congressional districts in 2011 and ordering them to draw new ones, presented maps that would rearrange almost all of the state’s voting lines. The proposal would keep the delegation’s 10-3 Republican majority.

An image of the 1st congressional district in NC
Wikipedia / Public Domain

North Carolina Republican legislators said on Tuesday that they want to keep racial considerations out of consideration when drawing new congressional district lines for the state, even as they hope the U.S. Supreme Court will issue an order telling them they can continue using current voting maps.

A Republican-led special redistricting committee voted to draw maps using political party information from elections since 2008 -- but not voters’ race. They will use the criteria to ensure Republicans keep their 10 to 3 majority in the state’s congressional delegation.

Photo: Federal judges have struck down North Carolina's 1st and 12th Congressional districts.
Wikipedia

North Carolina lawmakers heard from dozens of citizens on Monday, as they await a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether they will be required to immediately re-draw some of the state’s congressional district lines.

About 80 people signed up to speak to lawmakers during a five-hour meeting heard at the General Assembly building and five satellite locations from the mountains to the coast. Some did not answer when their names were called and inclement weather forced the cancelation of a site in Guilford County.

Craig Stephen Hicks at an April 6th court hearing.
Reema Khrais

The murder of three Muslim American students in Chapel Hill in February 2015 became world news as the victims’ families and many onlookers identified the shootings as an act of hatred against their religion.

Photo: Yusor, left, and Razan Abu-Salha at the beach
Razan Abu-Salha/ Instagram

Yusor and Razan Abu-Salha were like many young sisters. Yusor, 21, liked going to the beach. Razan, 19, liked recording five-second videos of her and friends and posting them on the Internet. And they were so close that in the first month after Yusor got married and moved from their family home, Razan drove 50 miles at least a half dozen times to visit.

Photo: Farris Barakat
Reema Khrais

When Deah Barakat was an undergraduate at NC State University, his father bought him a white house about five miles from campus. But Deah, who lived with his parents, didn’t move in: He rented out the house and collected rent.

Photo: Rosanell Eaton and Mary E. Perry
Jorge Valencia

Elderly minority people who are unfamiliar with North Carolina’s new photo identification requirement for voting are likely to not participate in national or local elections because they may find it difficult to obtain proper documentation to show at the ballot, according to testimony in federal court on Monday.

A picture of a voting sign.
Tom Arthur / Wikipedia

A federal judge in Winston-Salem began hearing arguments Monday in a case challenging North Carolina’s new voting law. It is the second time U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder has presided over a trial involving the controversial legislation. This week’s arguments deal with whether it is constitutional to ask people to show photo identification in order to vote, along with how state officials are educating voters about the new law.

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