Richmond is abuzz as lawmakers from across the Commonwealth are in town preparing for the start of another legislative session. It is a session that is filled with a number of plots and sub-plots and we plan to keep a close eye on here at Decision Virginia and on NBC12.
Here are a few issues I am interested in:
The Kaine Legacy
This session is of course, Governor Tim Kaine‘s final session as Virginia’s governor. Many political experts have said that, at this point, the Governor’s legacy will be marked more by his electoral success than his legislative success. This could be the last attempt to push through some hallmark changes that will be forever connected to his administration. Banning smoking in public places, closing the gun show loophole or even something like establishing early voting in Virginia have the potential to establish Kaine’s mark beyond turning Virginia blue.
The Budget Battle
Perhaps the biggest impediment to Tim Kaine creating a lasting legislative victory, will be the incredibly difficult budget battle ahead. Money will be the overwhelming concern of legislators and their constituents. When discussing cuts to things like education and public safety, people may not be all that concerned about dealing with smoking in public places. If the Governor can find early agreement on some of the most contentious budget issues, it may make negotiating over these controversial legislative plans a little easier.
I have more after the jump..
The Only Republican Majority
There is no question that the GOP brand in Virginia has taken a hit in the past year. The only base of power they have left to work from is their majority in the House of Delegates. Democrats have worked hard to show Republicans as nothing but obstructionists. How will they use this remaining bully pulpit to improve their brand, prevent the move toward the democrat’s left-leaning agenda and help Bob McDonnell get elected? It is just a bit of a tall order.
I will be at the General Assembly tomorrow as they gavel in and will be there to cover the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth speech. Check back here often and I will have updates on my twitter page.
Some other things on the docket on the day before the GA gathers:
*Check out the Times-Dispatch’s front page. You will find Terry McAuliffe is already spending his money.
*Speaking of the Macker’s money, he already has a lot of it.
*Governor Kaine talks about how he was indeed interested in becoming the president of VCU.
*Yet another entry into the Democratic field of candidates for Lt. Governor.
*A conservative blogger proposes dumping Lee-Jackson day.