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.

Pages

Politics & Government
5:00 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Sales Tax, Firearms, Ag Complaints: NC House, Senate Still At Work

A sylo in Swannaona, NC
Credit Flickr

North Carolina House and Senate leaders say they've finalized details for public school teacher pay raises and the state's budget, but lawmakers are rushing to tackle other issues ranging from sales taxes to farm pollution.

The Senate has already given its approval for the North Carolina Farm Act, and the House is giving it a closer look in its agriculture committee yesterday and its finance committee today.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:00 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Discrimination Of LGBT Students Not Specifically Prohibited In Proposed Law

Credit Thomas Favre Bulle via Flickr

The state House of Representatives has sent Gov. Pat McCrory a bill updating laws on charter schools.  This comes over the objections of Democrats who asked that LGBT students be specifically protected from discrimination.

Democrats asked that Senate Bill 793 include a provision preventing charter schools, which are run by private companies with tax-payer money, from barring the admission of students who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Read more
Politics & Government
9:31 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

NC Senate Tentatively Approves Bill That Would Limit Wake County, Cap Sales Tax At 7.25%

The North Carolina senate has tentatively approved a plan to limit the sales tax to 7.25 percent in most of the state.
Credit Luz Bratcher via Flickr

North Carolina's sales tax would be capped at 7.25 percent in most of the state under a plan tentatively approved by the Senate on Wednesday afternoon.

The proposal would make it easier for most counties to raise sales taxes to the limit. It would also pull back the ability some counties currently have to implement raises above that limit.

The purpose is to even out sales taxes and create fairness between populous and not-so populous areas, bill supporters say.  

Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), says many people in rural places don't spend their money there.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:00 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Republican Sales Tax Proposal Would Keep Wake County From Light Rail Plans, Democrats Say

A Senate committee is recommending a plan to limit the sales tax to 7.25 percent in most of North Carolina.
Credit MIKI Yoshito via Flickr

A state Senate committee is recommending a plan that would curtail the ability of four of North Carolina's most populous counties, including Wake, to raise their local sales tax.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:23 am
Tue July 22, 2014

NC Senate Committe Relaxes Restrictions On Proposed County Tax Legislation

A Senate committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday morning on a measure that would limit sales taxes to 7.5 percent.
Credit Walmart via Flickr

A North Carolina Senate committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday morning on a measure that would restrict how much counties can raise their sales taxes and what they can spend the revenue on.

The Senate finance committee approved last week a bill that would allow counties to raise their sales taxes by a half-percent -- and to use the new revenue for either schools or for transportation costs.

Read more
Politics & Government
7:01 am
Mon July 21, 2014

NC General Assembly Stories We’re Following: Week Of Monday, July 21

The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Credit Jorge Valencia

The state House and Senate are entering their fifth week of negotiations over the state’s $21 billion budget. The Senate is scheduled on Monday night to take on at least one other major piece of legislation and two bills intended to beef up policing in North Carolina.

Medicaid Overhaul

The point of this legislative session is for the General Assembly to make adjustments to the state’s budget. But talks are moving so slowly, that Senate leaders last week said they might as well take up an overhaul of the Medicaid system.

Read more
Politics & Government
4:47 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Public Will Be Able To Comment On NC’s Fracking Rules At Hearings In Raleigh, Sanford and Reidsville

A drilling site in northeastern Louisiana.
Credit Daniel Foster via Flickr

The North Carolina commission that is drafting rules for hydraulic fracturing will host public comment hearings next month.
 
Members of the Mining and Energy Commission have spent nearly two years writing more than 120 rules. They cover issues including where drilling companies can frack and whether they have to disclose the chemicals they use in the process.
 
Amy Pickle, the commission's rules chairwoman, says she expects plenty of comments on whether fracking should happen at all.
 

Read more
Politics & Government
7:28 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Police In NC Could Start Tracking License Plates On State Highways

The North Carolina Department of Transportation could give law enforcement agencies photos of license plates on state highways under a new proposal tentatively approved by the state Senate.
Credit Flickr user Tom

The North Carolina Senate has tentatively approved a bill that would allow police to use photo cameras on state roads to track license plates.

The idea is that the cameras would take pictures of license plates, and police could use them to, for example, find a fugitive. Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) says that could have helped Guilford County investigators on a recent case.

"Had this technology been available, at a right of way, it would've been possible to track down the individual who had committed the crime," Robinson says.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:19 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Moped Drivers: Should They Be Requried To Register Their Mopeds And Buy Insurance?

Credit Lars Elmo via Flickr

A North Carolina Senate committee wants to require moped owners to register their mopeds and buy insurance.

In North Carolina, mopeds owners can travel on roads without registering their vehicle at the Department of Motor Vehicle, owning insurance or having a valid driver's license.

Some members of the General Assembly have been trying for years to change that. Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Hendersonville), told the senate finance committee on Tuesday morning that there's no financial liability for a moped driver if he crashes into a car.

Read more
Environment
6:09 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Jordan Lake’s Managers Authorize Lake-Stirring Trial To Prevent Algae Growth

A SolarBee machine
Credit Medora Corp.

State environment officials expect to install 36-solar powered water mixers into Jordan Lake by the end of the month, as part of a two-year trial to find out whether the mixers can prevent algae from growing in the lake, they said.  

Read more

Pages