NASHVILLE - He's no longer Tennessee House majority leader, but Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, is now chairman of one of the chamber's most important panels.
House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, named McCormick as chairman of the House Budget Subcommittee, a panel through which most if not all bills requiring expenditures must pass first to go to the full Finance Committee.
And often the bills die there.
"I didn't know until she announced it," said a pleased McCormick. "She'd hinted. I'm excited about it. I'd really wanted to do it. I'd been extra careful to be nice to the speaker over
"I'm excited," he added. "We've got a $35 billion state budget and it comes right through that subcommittee."
McCormick chose last fall not to seek reelection in the GOP Caucus as majority leader.
Meanwhile, Harwell appointed Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, as the full Finance Committee's vice chairman.
Earlier today, Senate Speaker Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, named Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
All three panels will be major clearing houses for gas tax-increase proposals that Haslam is expected to unveil this month.