The Virginia Legislature started 2010 with a meeting Wednesday. They prepared a hard diet to be served up this year of deep cuts to state services and programs and dreaded layoffs -- hardtack to close a $4 billion state revenue shortfall.
The 99 House members took the oath of office. Twenty took it for the first time as their families looked on from overhead in the gallery.
Two new delegates took office after winning special elections. Democrat David Marsden replaces State Sen. Kenneth Cuccinelli who was elected attorney general. Republican Jeff Waters succeeds State Sen. Kenneth Stolle, elected sheriff of Virginia Beach.
Marsden's victory raised the Democratic majority in the 40 member Senate to 22 to 18.
From the top it's the changing of the guard -- and party affiliation.Outgoing Democrat Tim Kayne leaves the governor's office Saturday. On Monday night, incoming Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell delivers his first State of the Commonwealth speech.