In Friday's AJC

During the legislative session in Georgia, the marble hallway near the Speaker of the House's office has long been populated by attractive women lobbyists in form-fitting outfits and high heels. But that was before Speaker Glenn Richardson resigned after his ex-wife accused him of carrying on an affair with a female lobbyist.

“The babelicious lobbyist factor has definitely diminished,” says state Rep. Stephanie Benfield (D-Atlanta). “Heels have gotten shorter; skirts have gotten longer.”

Others agree.

So what's going on? Is it the recession and the certainty of painful budget cuts? Is it the new, no-nonsense leadership in the state House of Representatives?

Whatever the cause, lawmakers and lobbyists at the state Capitol agree: A somber tone has already come to define this year’s session of the often raucous General Assembly.