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“I have not had a single person since I’ve been in leadership say, ‘Saslaw, can you get me on local government?’ ” he added.

Democratic senators also mentioned the situation in 1996, when a 20-20 Senate forged a power-sharing agreement after then-Democrat Virgil Goode, Rocky Mount Democrat, threatened to bolt the party unless a compromise was reached.

“There was power sharing in 1996, there was power sharing in 1999, there ought to be power-sharing today,” Mr. McEachin said.

On Wednesday, however, there were no such Republican defectors, and Mr. Norment tried to disabuse Democrats of using that example to prove their point.

“That was not an act of anybody being magnanimous,” he said. “It is not out of fairness, it is not out of magnanimousness that we ended up [with] power sharing.”

Perhaps forestalling the inevitable, the Senate adjourned early until 1 p.m., only to gavel back into session just after 1:30 p.m.. Mr. Norment then moved that the Senate recess until 2:30 p.m. so the clerk’s office could finish printing copies of the new rules - complete with changes clearly marked so the GOP could not be accused of trickery. Mr. Bolling gaveled the body back into session at 2:46 p.m., at which point they finally took up the resolution.

And a cheery morning, when new senators were sworn in and legislators greeted one another with handshakes and backslaps, did not continue through the end of the afternoon.

“You will find that this is a very collegial body - most of the time,” Mr. Bolling said.