Around the South for Dec. 29: TN, NC & FL

Tennessee: Haslam pitches budget ideas. While he has not formally suggested what his budget priorities will be for the upcoming legislative session, last week Gov. Bill Haslam (R) told lawmakers that taxes on business were too high and causing the state to lose new industries to neighboring states, reports The Tennessee Journal. Haslam also noted that the transportation fund, which depends on gasoline and diesel taxes, is in need of additional funds. Stay tuned ……. North Carolina: Walker new chair of Study Committee. US Rep. Mark Walker (R) has been elected chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, a group of some 170 conservative lawmakers. Walker, 47, a former Baptist preacher and college baseball player, advocates the term “effective conservatism” to help bring in new voters to the GOP, reports the News & Observer ……. Florida: Democrats electing new state chair. At least five candidates are running in the Jan. 14 contest to choose a new chair of the Florida Democratic Party. The list, according to press reports, includes Stephen Bullard from Miami-Dade, who has the support of US Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and several influential unions; former state Sen. Dwight Bullard, who moved from Miami Dade to Gadsden County so he would be eligible, has the support of US Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind-VT) and key African-American activists; and Lisa King, state committeewoman from Duval County, who was a Hillary Clinton delegate. Two others running are Alan Clendenin from Bradford County and Osceola party chair Leah Carius …….