January 9, 2008
Our elected state officials headed back to Richmond Wednesday morning for the start of the 2008 legislative session.
All delegates and senators reported to the newly renovated Capitol building.
Bill proposals were due at 10:00am sharp.
Soon after both parties met to caucus.
At noon everyone got sworn in; and that was just the beginning.
"You've been preparing for this for a long time. Its like a big event. Its finally here. Its time to get to work," said Delegate Rob Bell.
Bell will work as chair of the newly-formed mental health sub-committee.
Delegate David Toscano plans to tackle bills that will provide tax relief for people who buy energy-efficient homes.
Both sides agree the main focus of this session is to look at Governor Tim Kaine's proposed budget.
"Where we spend our money signals what we think is important. So, there are so new initiatives in the mental health arena, in the Pre-K program the Governor Kaine has supported so strongly, also in K-12 education and higher education," said Toscano.
"In his (Kaine's) budget he presumes very steady economic growth and I have to say we are a little less optimistic that the economy is going to grow so fast. So that means there is less money so what you are going to see is sort of an adjustment to his budget to reflect what we think is a more conservative approach to spending the money," said Bell.