Tim Craig in The Washington Post Saturday morning reports that Governor Kaine and Speaker Howell have reached a new agreement on a smoking ban. The new concord substantially removes the amendments passed by the GOP House majority that weakened the original agreement between the Governor and the Speaker.

As Craig reports, the new deal restores the ban on smoking in bars, regardless of whether minors are admitted, though it permits smoking in private clubs and on outdoor patios.

Terry Kilgore, the architect of the original amendments that simultaneously weakened the original deal and enabled pasage of some new restrictions in the House, was not involved in the new deal and doesn’t appear to like it.

This is another fascinating turn of events in one of the session’s most astonishing stories.

On the key social/lifestyle issue of the 2009 session Governor Kaine and Speaker Howell have lined up together against what is likely to be the majority of Republicans in the House Caucus.

Who could have ever predicted this?

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