“Hey Bunkie, what’s cooking in Richmond?” Clyde asked as I slid onto the chair across from him.
“Well, February is hard upon us. It’s a short GA session so crossover day has come and gone. Everything the House of Delegates has passed is across that hall and in the Senate. Vice-versa.
“There were a couple pots of stew that everyone wanted to stir, or add more spices, or take out some potatoes. Senate district adjustments and the Governor’s transportation plan.
“On the senate districts, the Republicans put in a little too much spice, or not enough potatoes, and served it cold long before it was ready.
“The redistricting thing that burned the lips of the Senate Democrats was killed by one man in the House. The senate didn’t just make adjustments, they redid the whole thing. Speaker Howell couldn’t swallow it, so he used his veto power to kill it.
“I didn’t like the way Senate Republicans passed it, but it truly was an improvement over the weird districts we got now. I ain’t real happy with the way Speaker Howell killed it either.
“At any rate, it’s done. Finished for now.”
“OK,” Clyde said, “I never really studied that one that much. What you told me the other day was enough for me. Now, what’s up with the transportation plan? The Roanoke Times says it shortcuts schools. You’d think they be thrilled at the new taxes they are always whining for.”
After Rita refreshed my coffee I replied, “The Roanoke Times won’t be happy until Virginia has the highest gas tax in the country. If even that will make ’em happy.
“But don’t be sad for the Times. I’m sure there’s enough other stuff to keep those ladies churning out editorials way on up into the Summer.
“One of my colleagues at Bearing Drift, Norm Leahy, is better connected than I am and he’s got a few thoughts on that. I’ll summarize it here;”
One line of thought is that Speaker Howell and Democratic leader Dick Saslaw have reached an understanding on that. Over in the Senate, Mr. Saslaw will find the Republican vote he needs to amend the House bill more to his liking — meaning it will contain big tax hikes (and don’t forget about the regional authorities…yes, they are back on the radar).
This ugly thing will roll back to the House which will likely reject the amendments. Off we go to conference, where the real deals were always intended to be struck.
“After a false start, even the voter ID bill turned out just like it should be. Real photo IDs and no more telephone bills. With enough time built in to get everyone informed and ready.
“Now just remember, no matter what comes of all of it, the ladies on Campbell Avenue will find something to blame on the Republicans.”
Clyde leaned back in his chair and said, “Well Bunkie, I’ve always thought there are two kinds of people in this world – those that get it, and those that don’t. And you even get to choose which group you want to be in.”