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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Law
7:20 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Racial Profiling Expert: Alamance Sheriff's Office Targeted Hispanic Drivers

Credit Jessica Jones

The U.S. Department of Justice has accused Sheriff Johnson of racially profiling and illegally detaining members of the Hispanic community. Yesterday attorneys for the federal government called John Lamberth, a social psychologist, to the stand. He's an expert on racial profiling.

Lamberth conducted a study using data from 2008 to 2013 showing that Hispanics in Alamance County were seven times more likely to be given tickets than other people.

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Law
7:56 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Former Deputies Testify Alamance Sheriff Targeted Latinos For Arrest

Alamance County Sheriff's vehicle
Credit Alamance County Sheriff's Office

Today is the second day of the federal trial for Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson. Several current and former sheriff's deputies took the stand yesterday.

The U.S. Justice Department has accused Johnson of racial profiling and arresting and detaining members of the Hispanic community without probable cause.

Several past and present law enforcement officials testified on the opening day of the trial yesterday. It was held in federal district court in Winston-Salem.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Racial Profiling Trial For Alamance County Sheriff Set To Begin

Credit Alamance County Sheriff's Office

A federal case against the Alamance county sheriff accused of illegally targeting Latino drivers is going to trial today.

The U.S. Justice Department has accused Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson of illegally targeting Latino drivers as well as arresting and detaining people without probable cause.

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Politics & Government
9:55 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

House Tentatively Passes 21 Billion Dollar Budget

House lawmakers begin their second to last day of the short session.
Credit Jessica Jones

Lawmakers in the state House have tentatively passed a 21 billion dollar budget adjustment for this fiscal year. It would give teachers average 7 percent raises at a cost of 282 million dollars. Republicans say the spending plan is sustainable. But Democrats in the House are asking whether the combination of pay raises and this year’s lower tax rates will be sustainable over the long term. 

Leaders in the House began debating the budget conference report at 10 a.m. today. Appropriations Chair Nelson Dollar began by presenting what the bill stands for.

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Politics & Government
4:16 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

House Lawmakers Approve Measure That Would Weaken Environmental Regulations

In 2005, the General Assembly named the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout the official Freshwater Trout for the State of North Carolina.
Credit creative commons

State lawmakers in both chambers have approved a measure that would weaken environmental rules protecting rivers and streams in North Carolina.

Among other things, Senate Bill 883 would reduce the ratio of land that has to be mitigated when developers and others damage the banks of those waterways. That kind of damage is a major contributor to poor water quality.

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Politics & Government
10:43 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Attorneys Seek Speedy Resolution Of Same-Sex Marriage Cases

Jane Blackburn and Lyn McCoy speak at an ACLU news conference.
Credit Carol Jackson

ACLU attorneys challenging the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in North Carolina plan to ask a U.S. District Court judge in Greensboro for swift resolution of the issue. This comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down Virginia’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Monday. Since that court has jurisdiction over North Carolina, supporters of same-sex marriage here say it’s only a matter of time before this state’s ban crumbles as well.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

House and Senate Leaders Agree on Basic Budget Framework

Credit Jorge Valencia

Leaders of the state House and Senate have agreed on a framework for a budget for the fiscal year that has already started. They're expected to spell out the details this week.

Late Saturday afternoon, Speaker of the House Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger both tweeted that their chambers had agreed upon a budget framework. They said they'd release more details this week.

The spending plan is expected to include teacher raises of about 7 percent and save teacher assistants' jobs.

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Politics & Government
4:09 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Governor McCrory Says He Could Veto State Budget

Credit NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory says he will consider vetoing a budget bill if he doesn't like what House and Senate budget negotiators come up with. The governor gave a brief interview just outside the Old Capitol earlier this afternoon.

Leaders in both houses still don't agree on some final key issues, which include how big teacher raises should be and how many teacher assistants to keep in classrooms. Governor McCrory said he met with the House caucus earlier today to spell out his priorities.

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Politics & Government
5:28 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Senate Tentatively Passes Medicaid Overhaul Bill

Credit NC General Assembly

Lawmakers in the state Senate have tentatively approved a bill that would overhaul North Carolina's Medicaid system. The measure would create an independent agency to oversee the state's health care system for low-income residents. The bill would also contract out Medicaid to managed care and provider-led organizations. They would receive a set amount of money per patient to provide care. Republican Senator Ralph Hise is a sponsor of the bill. He says it's necessary to help control ballooning Medicaid costs.

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Politics & Government
3:56 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

State Lawmakers Plod Along Without Budget In Sight

Credit NC General Assembly

Senate lawmakers considered a number of items today, while many House lawmakers took the time to pay homage to the late Republican Representative Jim Fulghum.

There's still no official word on whether budget writers might be close to an agreement on a spending plan for this fiscal year. So in the meantime, lawmakers are publicly pursuing other measures.

In the morning, a Senate Rules Committee approved a bill that would restore Fayetteville's red-light cameras, but the committee shelved another that would have allowed license-plate scanners on highways.

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