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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Flickr user Etolane

A North Carolina law that requires abortion providers to take a woman's sonogram and describe it to her in detail is unconstitutional because it violate's the woman's free speech rights, a U.S. appeals court said on Monday.

A three-judge panel on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond unanimously ruled that the state cannot require physicians to disseminate its message discouraging abortions. The ruling upholds a district judge's decision.

Illustration: Cadeceus
Flickr user takomabibelot

Dozens of people advocating for and against abortion rights filled a room at the North Carolina health department headquarters on Friday morning to respond to proposed rules that will apply to the 14 clinics that provide abortion in the state.

Photo: Death row inmates are housed at Central Prison in Raleigh. No executions have been carried out in North Carolina since 2006.
North Carolina Department of Public Safety

About 12 percent of the inmates in North Carolina's prisons are mentally ill, state prisons administrators told lawmakers at a hearing this week.

Administrators, including David Guice, the commissioner for the state Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, said the they're starting a re-structuring of how they handle the roughly 4,600 mentally ill inmates. They're beginning to concentrate transfer some inmates and concentrate some services in some locations - instead of having them spread among the roughly 37,000 inmate population throughout the system's 56 facilities.

Photo: A Bed and Breakfast and a home on Bloodworth Street in downtown Raleigh's Oakwood neighborhood
Jorge Valencia

The Oakwood Inn Bed & Breakfast was built in 1871, and since 2001, Doris Juerkiwicz has been the owner and innkeeper. It was earlier this year that she heard about some brand new competition.

A woman ran the bell at Victorian-era house in historic Oakwood in downtown Raleigh, and asked Juerkiwicz if she remembered her.

"She said, 'I used to stay with you, but I'm staying at your neighbor’s now because I just can’t beat the price,'" Juerkiwicz remembers.

beer bottle
Gary Simmons / Flickr/Creative Commons

Almost twice as many middle and high school students compared to parents think that underage drinking is a serious issue, according to a survey commissioned by the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

"North Carolina has an underage drinking problem," ABC Chairman Jim Gardner said on Wednesday. "What’s worse: Our state’s children think underage drinking is a much bigger problem than their parents do."

Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker, Gov. Pat McCrory, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla
Jorge Valencia

There will be some key changes to Governor Pat McCory’s cabinet in the New Year. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker is stepping down. And Environment Secretary John Skvarla will be the new head of the commerce department. The two positions are central to the governor's plan to attract businesses to North Carolina.

The governor feels very passionately about the members of his cabinet, or as he prefers to call it: his team. Yesterday, he was in front of a crowd in the historic chambers of the Old Capitol building, and beside him was Sharon Decker.

Illustration: Cadeceus
Flickr user takomabibelot

North Carolina health officials have proposed updating regulations governing clinics that provide abortions, in compliance with a 2013 law that requires them to be treated like outpatient surgery centers.

Photo: Venus Flytrap
Flickr user Mark Freeth

Nine North Carolina state laws are set to go into effect today, including criminal defendants' ability to waive their right to a jury trial and a law that makes it a felony to poach the carnivorous Venus Flytrap plant.

Criminal Jury Trials

Photo: Justice Cheri Beasley
Justice Cheri Beasley Committee

North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley has won a re-count to keep her seat against  Winston-Salem attorney Mike Robinson, according to certified State Board of Elections results.

Beasley, endorsed by Democrats in the non-partisan race for the state’s highest court, gained a net of 17 votes in the re-count, keeping a narrow lead of 0.22 percent of ballots cast, the unofficial results show.

Photo: Rep. Tim Moore and NC House GOP Leadership
Jorge Valencia

North Carolina Republicans have nominated a new State House Speaker to succeed U.S. Senator-elect Thom Tillis. Tim Moore is an attorney and small business owner from Kings Mountain, a small town about 30 miles west of Charlotte. He's been in the House for six terms.

The Republicans in the House of Representatives chose Moore in a closed-door meeting. They locked themselves in a conference room at Randolph Community College. Moore needed at least half the votes plus one to win, and that was exactly what he got.

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