April 4, 2007
On Wednesday, state legislators were back in Richmond for a one-day session to vote on the amendments and vetoes Governor Tim Kaine made.
Since the last legislative session, Governor Kaine has had all the bills passed by both the House and Senate to go over and make changes he feels are needed.
After all the goodbyes were said to the retiring legislators, the House and Senate sat down in their first day back in the newly renovated capitol building to vote on the governor's changes.
“There have been a large number of bills that he has done something to including about five or six that he actually vetoed,” said Delegate Rob Bell, R-58th District.
One of the most controversial changes Kaine made was his proposed smoking ban in restaurants and bars.
“I support the ban on smoking in restaurants, but I was surprised that he took a bill that didn't look like that and turned it into a bill that looks like that,” said Delegate David Toscano, D-57th District.
On Wednesday, the bill was voted down in both chambers. The original bill now goes back to the governor's desk, and he has made it known that he will veto it. There is no chance for legislators to override that veto.
“It was set up to go through the session without amendments so that the governor could put a smoking repeal or smoking ban in the restaurants on,” said Senator Creigh Deeds, D-25th District.
Legislators voted on and passed probably the biggest issue of the day: transportation. The legislators we spoke with Wednesday all agreed the changes Governor Kaine made to the transportation bill makes it a better one, and it was very much a compromise.
“It’s not a perfect bill, and we will be back here several years from now to address its deficiencies, but it is a bill I think we can live with long term,” said Toscano.
Overall, many legislators believe Governor Kaine had a successful General Assembly session and that many of his changes will be passed.