Jessica Jones

Reporter

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Early Voting Starts Today

Credit Theresa Thompson / Creative Commons/Flickr

Early voting begins today for the May primary election.

Today is the first day North Carolinians can cast their votes in this year's primary election. 289 sites across the state will be open for residents to come to the polls. That's 77 more locations than in 2010.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Republican U.S. Senate Candidates Hold Second Debate

GOP Senate Primary Debate hosted by WRAL 4.23.14
Credit screenshot of web video / WRAL

Four of the candidates vying to win the state’s Republican U.S. Senate primary appeared in their second debate last night. In the half-hour forum, aired live on WRAL-TV, state house speaker Thom Tillis, Army veteran Heather Grant, Baptist pastor Mark Harris and ob-gyn Greg Brannon touched on a variety of issues, from immigration to the Affordable Care Act. But the candidates seemed to agree on most of the issues.
 

>> Watch the debate here.

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Politics & Government
4:46 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Republican U.S. Senatorial Primary Candidates Face A Tough Race

This evening, four of the Republican candidates in the U.s. Senate race will square off in their first televised debate, held at Davidson College just outside Charlotte. They are:

  • state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis,
  • Baptist Pastor Mark Harris
  • Tea Party-backed obstetrician, Greg Brannon
  • Army veteran Heather Grant.

The crowded field in this race could make for a complicated election.

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Politics & Government
5:24 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

State Health Officials Predict Medicaid Shortfall Smaller Than Previous Years

Credit Credit NC General Assembly

Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services say they still expect a Medicaid shortfall of between $120- and $140-million this year. They spoke before state lawmakers today in a committee meeting at the General Assembly.

They first predicted a shortfall of this size about three weeks ago, and it's less than budget overruns of previous years. Republican Representative Nelson Dollar of Cary says that's good news.

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Health
10:58 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Mother And Disabled Daughter: Fierce Advocates At General Assembly Committee Meetings

Katie Short (far left in purple), mother Mary next to her.
Credit Jessica Jones

Every month, state lawmakers on the General Assembly’s Health and Human Services Oversight Committee hold meetings to talk about health policy in North Carolina. Legislators sit at the front of the room to discuss their agenda, as staff members, reporters, and lobbyists listen. But in the back of the room, a mother and daughter, Mary and Katie Short, who attend every single meeting keep their eye on things too.

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Politics & Government
5:20 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

NC Governor Lauds State's Tax Overhaul To 'Build North Carolina's Future'

Credit NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory held a press conference today to celebrate a new report suggesting the state's economy is benefiting from tax cuts enacted last year.

The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council's "Rich States, Poor States" report ranks North Carolina sixth in the nation for its economic outlook.

McCrory says lowering corporate income taxes in particular has encouraged companies to move to the state.

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Politics & Government
3:51 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

'Nobody Should Die In North Carolina Because Race Played A Role In Getting The Death Sentence'

Credit Flickr.com

Monday afternoon, the state Supreme Court heard the cases of four former death row prisoners whose sentences were commuted to life in prison under the Racial Justice Act.

State lawmakers repealed the Racial Justice Act last year. That act allowed death row inmates to use statistical evidence of racial bias to challenge their sentences. The cases heard today are still pending.

Attorney Danielle Elder represented the state in court this morning. She and other prosecutors argue that a previous ruling was based on jury selection statistics that were too broad.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Mon April 14, 2014

State Supreme Court Hears Racial Justice Act Cases

Credit SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

This morning, the state supreme court will hear the cases of four defendants who were removed from death row under the state's racial justice act. The court will review whether the now repealed-act should apply to these defendants.
 

State lawmakers repealed the Racial Justice Act last year. It allowed death row inmates to receive life imprisonment if they could show that racial bias contributed to their sentences.

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Politics & Government
5:23 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

ACLU Files Lawsuit Asking To Block State's Marriage Amendment

Shana Carignan, her partner Megan Parker and Jax are one of the families involved in the first lawsuit.
Credit NC ACLU

The national and state ACLU have filed lawsuits in federal district court in Greensboro, asking a judge to block the state's marriage amendment.
 

The ACLU has asked for a preliminary injunction to prevent Amendment One from remaining in effect for one of the families in a pre-existing lawsuit seeking to overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriage. It's also filing a separate lawsuit on behalf of three other same-sex couples in the state. Chris Brook is the legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina.

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Politics & Government
4:00 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

State Libertarians Happy To Be On The Ballot

Libertarians in the state are holding a candidate forum this afternoon featuring two contenders for the party's U.S. Senate nomination.

This is only the second time in state history that Libertarians have an official presence on the primary ballot. Tim D'Annunzio and Sean Haugh are the party's primary contenders in the U.S. Senate race.

Brian Irving is the communications director for the state Libertarian party. He says the candidate forum and this weekend's annual state convention will help prepare other Libertarians who're also on the ballot.

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