The road ahead in Richmond

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 14, 2008

The General Assembly convenes in Richmond today with a laundry list of key items and, no doubt, a thesis-thick list of the so-called pork barrel items that are stuffed into obscure crannies of budgets and other larger bills.

It is the shorter and clearer laundry list that we’ll be watching with keen eyes.

Our state senators, L. Louise Lucas and Fred M. Quayle, and delegates William Barlow and Roslyn Tyler have been chosen to represent this region, and this region has several key and obvious needs.

It is certain and necessary that two pieces of legislation that made it through the Assembly last year

be tweaked in this session: Adjusting the abusive-driver fees and reconfiguring other fund-raising sources of the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority.

Gov. Timothy Kaine has also proposed a $78 billion budget that will be in the news throughout the session and, most likely, be one of those bills that get loaded with attachments and riders.

The issue of setting a statewide smoking ban in restaurants, which was soundly defeated in the House last year, is on the governor’s agenda again this year.

In short, the political spotlight — and our attention —

will be focused on Richmond for two months.