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
4:41 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Report: This Former NC Lawmaker Now State's Most Influential Lobbyist

Harold Brubaker
Credit Wikipedia

The most influential lobbyist in North Carolina is former state House speaker Harold Brubaker, according to a report from the non-partisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

Brubaker, a Republican who represented Randolph County for 18 terms, counts Alliance for Access to Dental Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and 21st Century Oncology among his current clients.

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Politics & Government
4:24 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

NC Governor Will Sign Coal Ash Bill Into Law, But May Challenge It In Court

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Credit Zen Sutherland

Governor Pat McCrory says he plans to sign a bill to manage North Carolina’s coal ash ponds. But he may also challenge a key part of it.

The governor played a role this summer when members of the House and Senate were crafting the  plan. He made suggestions of his own on what to do with Duke Energy's 100 million tons of coal ash.

The bill is now on his desk. Over the weekend, on the talk show NC Spin, his support for it was cautious.

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Environment
6:29 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

NC's Fracking Rules: Public Comment Hearing Tonight In Sanford

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

State officials are holding a hearing in Sanford today on proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing. Hundreds are expected to attend.

Fracking is a form of shale gas extraction, and it's controversial, among other things, because of it's a serious contamination threat to drinking water.

So as the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission shares its proposed rules for the industry, many people are interested. Earlier this week, hundreds packed an auditorium at N-C State in Raleigh.

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Politics & Government
9:05 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Durham City Manager: 'In Some Areas, Unexplained Racial Disparities Do Exist'

Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield presented his response to alleged racism in the Durham Police Department in a packed hearing before city council.
Credit Jorge Valencia

The Durham city manager presented the city council recommendations in a packed hearing on Thursday to improve the relationship between the police and minority groups.

It's a long-awaited response to an investigation by the city's Human Relations Commission on claims that the police targets minorities. In his report, city manager Tom Bonfield had some clear findings.

"Our review and the data tells us in some areas, unexplained racial disparities do exist," Bonfield said to the council.

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Politics & Government
8:36 am
Thu August 21, 2014

NC Lawmakers Approve Plan To Manage Duke Energy's Coal Ash Ponds

Credit Waterkeeper Alliance

The North Carolina General Assembly is sending Governor Pat McCrory a plan for Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. It could become the first legislation in the country to try to mitigate the pollution from ashes left over from burning coal.

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Politics & Government
8:44 am
Wed August 20, 2014

NC Lawmakers Compromise On Plan For Duke Energy's 33 Coal Ash Ponds

North Carolina lawmakers have been under pressure to pass legislation in response a February spill of more than 39,000 tons of coal ash from a Duke plant onto the Dan River.
Credit Riverkeeper Foundation

Top Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly say they’ve agreed on a plan to manage Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. The plan for Duke Energy's 33 ponds has been roughly six months in the making, but just weeks ago negotiations broke down between the senators and representatives who were writing it.

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Politics & Government
9:26 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

NC Gov Names Mark Martin To State’s Top Judicial Post

Justice Mark Martin
Credit Mark Martin

Gov. Pat McCrory has appointed a new chief justice to the North Carolina Supreme Court. The chief has influence over the highest court but also lower courts in the state.

McCrory appointed a new head of the court after Chief Justice Sarah Parker, who is stepping down at the end of August, reached the mandatory retirement age of 72. (Although the court is officially non-partisan, Martin is a Republican and Parker is a Democrat.)

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Politics & Government
9:18 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Why NC Lawmakers Couldn't Agree On A Coal Ash Management Plan This Summer

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Credit Zen Sutherland

A few members of the North Carolina House of Representatives will be back in Raleigh for a skeleton session today, but no real business is expected to be conducted. Technically, they need to be there to keep the legislature in session. That’s because they couldn’t agree with their colleagues in the Senate on one of their main priorities this summer – what to do about 33 coal ash dumps around the state.

This story starts in February this year, and you might have seen it on national newscasts.

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Politics & Government
2:09 pm
Sat August 2, 2014

What the NC General Assembly Has Left Pending: Medicaid Overhaul, Coal Ash Clean-Up

North Carolina's Legislative Building
Credit Jorge Valencia

Gov. Pat McCrory has before him an annual spending plan for North Carolina, setting aside money to give public school teachers their first significant pay raise since 2008 - while cutting from public health, childhood development and other programs. McCrory has said he will sign the bill, and lawmakers said they have at least two other major pieces of legislation they will address this year. 

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Politics & Government
11:48 am
Thu July 31, 2014

NC House Committee Slams 'Closing Fund' For Economic Development, Recommends Historic Tax Credits

A tobacco warehouse in Durham. The House finance committee recommended on Wednesday that North Carolina continue to offer tax breaks to owners who who rehabilitate historic industrial structures.
Credit Flickr

While General Assembly leaders are in the final stages of sending Gov. Pat McCrory a state budget, they're rushing to wrap up bills on taxes and economic development.

Republican and Democratic representatives grilled Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker on Wednesday, asking why the governor wants to create  a $20 million "closing fund" to bring business to North Carolina.

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