HOPE FOR DEMOCRATS?

Paul Fogleman,

Gov. Roy Cooper has raised over $1 million to put in the 2018 Legislative races that are competitive for Democrats. He wants to break the veto-proof majority of Republicans in the House and the Senate. A million dollars is a lot of money, but in the world of politics it is not an astronomical amount. In 2010, Raleigh businessman Art Pope spent $3 million to help Republicans gain control of both chambers and thus control the redistricting process. The rapid urbanization trends also are expected to help the Democrats, but not enough to gain majorities in the House and Senate.

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BACK AGAIN … SO SOON.

Paul Fogleman,

It’s easy for legislators to catch Raleigh fever. Former lawmakers often retire there. Five weeks after adjourning the 2017 session, the members of the General Assembly are returning to the Capitol City for a special session that convenes next week. It is Mission Redistricting.

Again the courts have ruled that the gerrymandered map for state elections discriminates racially. Last year congressional districts were realigned. This years the district lines for representatives and senators will be changed. Estimates put the changes at 50 to 60 percent of the 170 districts. While there have been calls for a new statewide election as early as next March, it is more likely that voters will cast ballots in new districts in November 2018. That will assure more new faces will be in Jones Street offices in 2019.

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DESALES IN PARTNERSHIP

Paul Fogleman,

Rubberflex Sdn. Bhd. Of Kuala Lampur, Malaysia and DeSales Trading Co. of Burlington have begun a partnership in the distribution of 100 percent latex rubber thread in the United States, according to a news release from DeSales.

Amy Wong, international sales coordinator at Rubberflex, said DeSales offers “an excellent channel” to reach the elastic narrow fabric braided rope and related markets in the Eastern U.S. Michael Murray, vice president of sales for DeSales said the Rubberflex product mix ranges from 20 to 110 gauge rubber, silicone and talcum finishes in black and white.

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IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL IT’S OVER

Paul Fogleman,

The adjournment resolution adopted by a majority of N.C. House members last Friday included an announcement that the Legislature will reconvene on August 3 to take care of “unfinished business.” Overriding vetoes of bills by Gov. Roy Cooper and consideration of proposed amendments to the state constitution could be among the issues. Redistribution of sales tax revenue to low wealth counties is still a hot button issue. Legislators also have scheduled a session in September, perhaps to redraw judicial districts for judges, district attorneys and court personnel.

Also on the table is drawing new districts for General Assembly members. Senate Pro Temp President Phil Berger has appointed a Senate redistricting committee chaired by Sen. Ralph Hise of Mitchell County. The committee includes 14 Republicans and five Democrats.

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FOURTH OF JULY SCENES

Paul Fogleman,

Those attending the traditional July 4 Parades and Barbecues may have seen their politicians circulating amid the crowds or walking down the parade route. But more elected officials stayed at home or kept close to family events. According to news reports, U.S. Senators avoided crowds where questions of national healthcare legislation was likely to come up.

North Carolina legislators used the holiday festivities to circulate among constituents. Rep. Jon Hardister sent out photos of him posing with Uncle Sam at a neighborhood gathering. Others were seen at local sporting events. Comments were cautious and reserved.

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OUTLOOK: HEALTHY AND GROWING

Paul Fogleman,

The leadership of the Textile Technology Center Advisory Board changed last week with Don Hager of Pharr Yarns LLC taking the role as chairman, succeeding Patti Bates of Glen Raven Mills.

During Bates’ two-year tenure as chair, the Textile Technology has experienced significant growth in services and revenue and last year started a training program for plant production personnel with supported from the N.C. General Assembly. Director Sam Buff’ reviewed the growth trends and outlined capital improvements and equipment purchases during the current fiscal year. State funds for the operation of the center were included in the budget approved by House and Senate conferees, the Board was advised.

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SAY HELLO TO THE JETSONS

Paul Fogleman,

This week the Senate Judiciary Committee considered regulations for the operation of … fully autonomous motor vehicles on the public highways of North Carolina. Within five years, the state will have on the streets and highways motor vehicles equipped with an automated driving system that will not at any time require an occupant to perform any portion of the dynamic driving system is engaged, the bill reads. Senators wondered about the safety of a 12-year child put into a car that is programmed to take here to school. The regulations also address responsibility if the vehicle is involved in a crash … and who changes a flat tire … and many other issues. The bill exempts owners from a required driver’s license if they are not operating the vehicle. Sen. Paul Lowe of Winston-Salem summed up what other committee members were thinking

Are we in the age of the Jetsons? Representatives from General Motors were present to answer questions from the Senators.

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STATE BUDGET SENT TO GOVERNOR

Paul Fogleman,

The $23 billion budget was sent to Governor Cooper who will sign it or veto it or let it become law without his signature. The deadline is Sunday, July 2. In either case, the budget is on track to become law as the Legislature has a veto-proof majority. A partisan move by the Senate to cut half the legal staff – some 123 lawyers – from the budget of Attorney General Josh Stein could prompt Gov. Roy Cooper to use the veto stamp.

The budget is a success for the hosiery and textile industry supporters of the Textile Technology Center and the Manufacturing Solutions Center. Both centers received full funding for their operating and training budget. Language in the budget codifies the MSC practice of investing earned income for growth of the center. (A provision added for the Textile Center four years ago). And franchise tax was removed from purchases of new manufacturing equipment. Also manufacturing equipment does not have to be recertified by safety inspectors if moved or sold.

The budget overall is friendly to business with adjustments to regulatory requirements and lower income taxes. TRENDS will provide details in the budget in the weeks and months ahead.

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GUNS IN THE WORKPLACE

Paul Fogleman,

The General Assembly in North Carolina has made some significant changes in laws governing possession of firearms and where they can be carried. It is legal for guns to be carried into restaurants, on college campuses, in bars and places of entertainment. They also can be brought into the workplace with permission of management. Businesses are allowed to prevent guns in the workplace and should post notices to that effect in personnel offices, etc.

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OBITUARY: Paul T. O’Day

Paul Fogleman,

Paul T. O’Day, president and Counsel for the American Fiber Manufacturers Assn has died. He had headed the AFMA since 1984 and led the initial implementation of the Multi-Fiber Arrangement (MFA). He also was the lead negotiator in textiles and clothing for the NAFTA agreement. During his 34 years he participated in several leading U.S. Trade agreements involving textiles.

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