- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2006

RICHMOND — The Republican-controlled General Assembly could not muster enough votes to override any of the seven vetoes by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, during a one-day session yesterday.

“Seven for seven on the vetoes is something to feel good about,” Mr. Kaine said at the Governor’s Mansion.

The House of Delegates came close to overriding a veto of a bill that would have allowed gun owners without concealed-weapons permits to store guns in their cars as long as the weapons are kept in locked compartments.

The veto was sustained on a 61-36 vote, largely on party lines and six shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override it.

In addition, the House and the Senate could not override Mr. Kaine’s vetoes of bills that would have taken away the governor’s power to appoint members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, the director of the Tobacco Settlement Foundation and the director of the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

Lawmakers yesterday took a break from stalled budget talks to consider the vetoes and 113 amendments the governor proposed during a regular legislative session that, for the third time in five years, failed to pass a state budget.

But rancor over the lack of a new two-year budget lingered at the Capitol, as lawmakers filled the time with acrid rhetoric — not all of it partisan.

Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr. of James City County upbraided Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a fellow Republican, for what he called a breach of the Senate’s tradition of collegiality.

Mr. Bolling’s offense, in Mr. Norment’s view, was writing a column opposing the Senate’s plan to raise taxes and supporting the House’s proposal to delay the issue of transportation funding until a special session in the fall.

Mr. Bolling, whose column was posted on his Web site (www.billbolling.com) and published as an op-ed piece in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, said he has a right to speak his mind.

“I will not be silenced simply because I’m in disagreement with the majority of the members of the Senate,” he told the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, about 50 supporters of Mr. Kaine’s political action committee Moving Virginia Forward visited with their lawmakers to lobby for the Democratic governor’s transportation plan.

“They were there to be seen and heard and make their case for a real transportation solution,” said Mo Elleithee, the PAC’s consultant.

The group spent about $380,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31, according to reports filed with the State Board of Elections. Much of that money has paid for automated telephone calls and radio ads that blame House Republicans for the budget impasse.

The House wants to set aside $1.3 billion in a transportation reserve fund, pass the remainder of the budget and take up transportation later. The Senate and Mr. Kaine want to raise $1 billion a year in new taxes to pay for a statewide transportation solution.

Delegate John S. Reid, Richmond Republican, said the governor’s push for public support is “patently false.”

“Frankly, I find it offensive that this governor has chosen to use the power of his position to attempt to scare our constituents and manufacture a false crisis,” Mr. Reid said.

Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., Winchester Republican, compared the Senate’s stance to that of President Reagan’s call to tear down the Berlin Wall.

“He said, ‘Tear down that wall,’ and he backed it up with money — M-O-N-E-Y,” Mr. Potts said. “We are talking about the tax word, but the real word is investment.”

The General Assembly adjourned its regular 60-day session without a budget March 11 and returned for a special session that Mr. Kaine called on March 27.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.



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