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Duty Calls, Lawmakers Cancel London Trip

Two events had been planned to commemorate the 1606 incorporation of the Virginia Company, which sent Capt. John Smith to the New World. The one that coincides with the special session is an April 10 gala at Middle Temple, London's ancient center of law, that celebrates the 400th anniversary of James I signing the charter establishing the company.

Because legislators could not agree on a transportation funding plan — a contentious issue that has split House and Senate Republicans — Kaine ordered them to return to Richmond to work it out.

Speaker of the House Delegate William J. Howell, R-Fredericksburg, had planned to attend with his wife but has canceled the trip. "I'm going to stick around here," he says, because the budget session is more important than the England events. Sen. Janet D. Howell, D-Fairfax (no relation), also had to drop her plans to attend, as did real estate lobbyist and former Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation board member John R. Broadway.

"It's just a nice, sort of a goodwill tour," Delegate Howell says of the trip. He was going to go to Kent and visit Pocahontas' grave, among other things. Is he disappointed? "Of course," Howell says.

He spent about $2,000 of his own money on the trip, he says, but hopes to recoup at least half of that by going instead in December for the commemoration of the departure of Smith's fleet. That is, he says wryly, if "we're still not in session in December."

Four justices of the Virginia Supreme Court are attending the Middle Temple event: Chief Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell Sr., Lawrence L. Koontz Jr., Elizabeth B. Lacy and Donald W. Lemons.

Delegate Vincent F. Callahan Jr., R-Fairfax, was Virginia's official representative to the first Jamestown event March 20, a black-tie banquet at Guildhall, London's 600-year-old stronghold of commerce. Callahan also planned to attend other events celebrating his legislation bestowing on Winston Churchill the title of honorary Virginian. S

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