In a parliamentary sleight of hand, a Senate committee has sidestepped action on a measure calling for a constitutional ceiling on state spending.

The manuevering came last week when Sen. Herbert Bateman (R-Newport News) changed his mind three times before the resolution was finally handed back to committee.

Earlier, Sen. Hunter Andrews (D-Hampton) said he wanted a study of the measure, introduced by Sen. Elliot Schewel (D-Lynchburg) before it was "ramrodded" through the legislature.

Andrews said "going too fast can jeopradize the success of the baby he (Schewel) wants to have baptized, christened or circumcised or whatever."

"The latter is correct," said Schewel, who is Jewish.

The Senate Finance Committee, which has been expected to refer the proposal for a year's study orginially tied at 7-to-7, with Bateman abstaining. After some discussion, however, Bateman changed his vote and the bill was approved 8 to 7 for consideration by the full Senate.

Minutes later, Bateman again changed his mind and asked the committee to reconsider before sending the bill to the Senate.

The committee agreed, and finally voted 9 to 6 to keep the bill in committee, thus delaying its consideration by the Senate for at least this session.