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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Rep. Tim Moore is the GOP's choice for Speaker of the House
NC General Assembly

North Carolina House Republicans selected Cleveland County Rep. Tim Moore as their choice for Speaker of the House of Representatives, making him the almost-certain successor to U.S. Senator-elect Thom Tillis in one of the state's three most powerful public offices.

Moore, 44, an attorney in rural King's Mountain and seven-term representative, received 37 votes in the first-round of voting - likely a comfortable victory in a race against five other candidates.

Photo of Republican John Alexander and Democrat Tom Bradshaw
Alexander for NC Senate, Tom Bradshaw for NC Senate

Wednesday afternoon former Raleigh Mayor Tom Bradshaw congratulated  opponent John Alexander on winning their race for the North Carolina Senate, after Wake County Board of Elections officials gave the final results of a re-count.

Bradshaw and Alexander’s race to represent a portion of northern Wake County -- the only one in the General Assembly to go to a re-count after this month’s election -- came down to 701 votes, or about .86 percent of the turn-out. The contest was one of a mere dozen or so that were competitive in the 170-seat body.

Sharing economy illustration
North Carolina General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers are taking their first look at how to regulate networks of individuals who buy and sell services between each other, a billion-dollar global industry that already operates in dozens of cities across the state.

One of the peer-to-peer economy’s biggest exponents, Airbnb, accounts for about 2,700 residential rental listings across North Carolina, and drivers who pick up passengers with their personal cars using the application Uber operate in ten cities here.

Photo of Republican John Alexander and Democrat Tom Bradshaw
Alexander for NC Senate, Tom Bradshaw for NC Senate

Former Raleigh Mayor Tom Bradshaw requested a recount on Monday afternoon in his race for the North Carolina Senate against Republican John Alexander, with 701 votes separating them in the closest General Assembly contest this year.

Alexander led Bradshaw by .86 percent in a race with a turn-out of about 82,000 voters, according to certified Wake County Board of Elections results.
 

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

Governor Pat McCrory has filed a suit against House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger, saying he's trying to stop them from usurping executive powers.

The lawsuit, filed in Wake County Superior Court, alleges violations of the separation of powers, executive power, and appointments provisions of the state Constitution, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. Former governors Jim Hunt, a Democrat, and Jim Martin, a Republican, joined McCrory in the filing.

Unemployment lines
Wikimedia

The U.S. Department of Labor has waived an anticipated federal unemployment tax increase on North Carolina businesses, as the state continues to pay millions it borrowed from the federal government to pay for state insurance benefits. 

The waiver reduces employers’ tax hike for the 2014 tax year up to $65 per employee, or about $180 million collectively for employers across the state, officials said.

This is a story about two new Americans: Webton Webley, a 26-year-old active service member of the U.S. Army, and his wife 23-year-old Sherell Perry-Webley, an U.S. Army reservist.

Sherell's and Webton's lives in the U.S. have been closely intertwined. They went to the same high school in Jamaica, and Sherell eventually got a green card through her mom, who was living in Fort Lauderdale. Webton arrived to Florida on a visa to study at Miami-Dade College. Webton says that's actually the first place they spoke.

Central Prison
Dept. of Public Safety

Staff from North Carolina prisons frequently use solitary confinement to discipline inmates, even though it’s costly and ineffective at decreasing violence, according to a new study from the UNC School of Law.

About nine percent of state inmates were being held in long-term solitary confinement on multiple dates between 2012 and 2014. That's higher than the rate of six percent in Texas and the federal prison system and the rate of eight percent in New York before a court ordered the state review its practices, the study found.

Flickr user Jeffrey Cohen

More North Carolina voters cast their ballots early this year than did in the last mid-term elections, according to State Board of Elections figures released Sunday. A new election law limited the number of early voting days but increased the total hours.

Roughly 1.1 million people voted by mail or in person at polling stations by the end of early voting on Saturday, up 20 percent from 961,000 in 2010, the board of elections said.

Here are three possible causes for the increased turn-out:
 

Photo: A Massachusetts voting station sign
Flickr user Katri Niemi

A conservative activist known for making undercover videos of what he says is illegal or unethical political conduct says he’s found campaign volunteers at six local North Carolina campaigns giving inaccurate information about voting eligibility.
 

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