A committee of the Virginia Senate is expected to decide today just how soft the job of state senator should be.

The Senate Rule Committee has been studying a subcommitte's has been studying a subcommitte's recommendations for spending about $18,000 to replace the 40 senator' decades old wooden armchairs with new padded leather models.

It's an issue because of objections from some cost - conacious and publicity- minded senators.

"I don't have any problems with getting new chairs, they certainly would be more comfortable and attrative , but I'm probably goin gto vote against getting them because of the publicity said" said State Sen. Adelard L. Branit (D - Fairfax), a member of the Rules Committee.

During the past several months numerous legislators have written to Rules Committeechairman Willard J. Moody (D-Portsmouth) expressing opposition to the expenditure . Last week Sen. Clive L. DuValII(D-Fairfax) wrote Moody thay to spend around $18,000 . . . for what R. Mitchell Jr. (R Alexandria) said yesterday that "of the many discomforts visited on me as a senator, the chairs are a minor one." Mitchell was one of the letter - writers opposing the purchase.

According to Sen. Hunter B. Andrews (D-Hampton), a pro-chair member of the subcommittee that investigated of the matter, the question of buying the new chairs first was raised after the newly - constructed Senate finance hearing room was opened. "The idea was the old chairs from the Senate chamber could go to the hearing room, and new chairs for the chamber could be purchased." he said.

Additionally, not only did some newly-elected senators have bad backs, but the House of Delegates had recently spent several thousand dollars for padded new chairs for its chambers, Andrews said.

"There's nothing fancy about the chairs, they're just standard-priced chairs." Andrews said.