Senate redistricting bill dead?

If this report is accurate, then we may be about to go back to the future, when the House and Senate were two bodies separated by a chasm masquerading as a hallway:

House Speaker William J. Howell intends to use a procedural move to kill the GOP’s surprise Senate redistricting plan Wednesday, according to several people familiar with his plans.

Howell (R-Stafford) is expected to rule that the new Senate map radically altered the legislation to which it was attached, according to three legislators and a Capitol staffer who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about private discussions involving the speaker.

“There are no guarantees in this business, but the expectation is” that Howell will rule the measure not germane Wednesday, a lawmaker said.

Howell has every right to make such a ruling. From what I’ve been told, the only people who knew anything about the status of the redistricting bill in the House were the Speaker, Sen. Norment and the Governor. That has changed in the last few days, and those folks are talking.

What does all of this mean for the House-approved transportation bill that’s now in the Senate? After Wednesday night’s massacre of the various Republican bills, including the Governor’s, it’s prospects for survival were slim at best. Democrats want more money, end of story.

Republicans trotted out last-minute alternatives to the Governor’s plan. Plus, when the voice vote came to recommit the McDonnell’s bill to committee, the Republican voices in opposition were few and faint.

With the possibility of the Speaker ditching redistricting, the incentive for Senate Republicans to man the ramparts on behalf of the bill — patroned by Howell — has gone almost to zero.

Somewhere, John Chichester is having a good laugh over all this…