The likelihood of massive turnover in the North Carolina General Assembly is confirmed with recent announcements. Rep. Bill Owens, a powerful from, is calling it quits and recently Rep. of nearby, has said “no more.” Both were among the Democrats who joined with Republicans to vote for the budget and overturn vetoes of Gov. Perdue. Spear was not rewarded by Republicans. He was put into a new House District with GOP newcomer Bill Cook.

Rep. Mark Hilton, a close ally of U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, is bowing out after six terms. He was House Co-Chair of the Education Appropriations Committee. Hilton also received a large loan from a program administered by embattled Rep. of. Recently, Rep. was critically injured in an automobile collision and his return is doubtful. GOP Rep. Bill Current is leaving and GOP Sen. Jim Forrester died after a lingering illness. Unofficial reports include Democrat and Republican incumbents who are retiring, some of whom have put in districts with other members.

Redistricting Lawsuit

Democrats have filed lawsuits challenging the validity of new House, Senate and congressional districts drawn by Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly. The U.S. Justice Department has signed off on the districts. But the U.S. courts now must consider if the procedures last summer met constitutional requirements. In the past, the courts have forced new plans if counties were split unnecessarily. African-American legislators have complained they have been packed in districts to dilute their impact. More recently, observers in Raleigh believe the courts will send GOP redistricting committees back to the drawing table.

Budget Outlook

Unless the economic climate in North Carolina takes a steep drive are not likely to push for more cuts in state education spending. House Speaker Thom Tillis is sending signals that the House will retreat from adding five days to the school calendar. He also has said cuts to the universities budget can be reviewed.

However, there is momentum to examine the community colleges $1 billion budget, including mergers and privatization of services.

The Appropriations Base Budget Committee has scheduled meetings in January, four months before the start of the official short session. Legislative leaders have said budget sessions will continue throughout the winter and early spring and a proposed budget will be ready for enactment shortly after the May session convenes.

John Anderson Retiring

John Anderson, who has led the Textile Technology Center in for six years as executive director, has announced his retirement, effective in March 2012. A former executive with Wellman Inc., John has applied business principles to the management and growth of the center. Today, earned income from services to textiles companies is over $1 million annually. His relationships with textiles companies in the supply chain have enabled the center to acquire more equipment to expand services in testing, research and development.

He leaves big shoes to fill.

Our Membership Campaign

With changes in the General Assembly on the horizon, our job of cultivating relationships and support from new leaders is going to require more time in the Legislature. Also, the council is in discussions with the American Manufacturing Trade Action Council in Raleigh in the interest of protecting domestic manufacturing companies – companies that make products in the U.S.

Protecting our support among Raleigh legislators will remain our top priority, as the Manufacturing Solutions (Hosiery) Center and the Textile Technology Center become more important resources for our manufacturers.

We urge you to join us for another important year—one that is going to include important challenges.

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