Virginia: The New Old Dominion

The birds still warble sweet in the springtime, and the Byrds still control the roosts of power in Virginia: a U.S. Senate seat and the Statehouse. But ornithological and oligarchical verities apart, little else of the old order is immune from the spirit of regeneration that has engulfed the state.

Before packing to go home, the general assembly demolished a passel of passé prohibitions: Virginia's ancient predilection for pay-as-you-go budgetary procedures; the inviolability of the state constitution; a ban on sales of liquor by the drink; an end to billing poll-tax payments;...