DAYBREAK DAILY: Abortion debate again front and center in Virginia

ABC7 TRAFFIC: Good Morning Washington has updates every 10 minutes beginning at 4:30 a.m.

ABC7 WEATHER: Partly cloudy with highs in the mid 50s.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: After Brent Musberger went gaga over her on ESPN, former Miss Alabama USA Katherine Webb - Alabama QB AJ McCarron's girlfriend - has been trending. Her Twitter followers have swelled from 2,000 to 245,000, but she's taking it all with a laugh (@_KatherineWebb). Did Musberger cross the line with his comments?

OF VIRGINIA’S OBESSSION WITH A CERTAIN ISSUE: per the Daily Press, “With the opening of the 2013 General Assembly Wednesday Democrats made clear they intend to keep the debate over abortion front and center again this year. As part of the Democratic agenda for the session, Sen. Ralph Northam of Norfolk said Wednesday he will carry legislation to repeal the mandatory ultrasounds before abortions law that went into effect in July. Northam, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, was a vocal opponent of the ultrasound legislation last year.”

MEANWHILE: There is, of course, a differing opinion, per the Virginian-Pilot, “. . . Several Republicans have filed bills to curb abortions in some circumstances by ending state support for abortion procedures of poor women who are going to have a deformed baby, making it criminal for doctors to perform abortions based on gender, and limiting contraception coverage.”

AND THEN THIS: Voices all around, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “. . . Several hundred anti-abortion advocates gathered at the Bell Tower for speeches and prayers in a show of support for conservative lawmakers who last year won passage of legislation that requires physicians to conduct ultrasounds on women seeking abortions. . . Meanwhile, several dozen abortion-rights advocates lined 9th Street behind the tower, toting signs and chanting competing slogans.”

CROSSING STATE LINES: Thanks a lot, neighbor, per the Baltimore Sun, “The governor of Virginia has thrown a new wrinkle into a Maryland debate by calling for abolition of the commonwealth's gas tax and increasing the sales tax to pay for roads and transit – a move that would alter the competitive balance between the two states. . . Among other things, it would create an incentive for Marylanders to gas up south of the Potomac rather than pay their home state's gas tax of 23.5 cents a gallon.”

TALKING GUNS: Like it or not, per the Washington Post, “On the opening day of Maryland’s legislative session, there was no shortage of the usual ceremony and schmoozing. But state leaders also served up some bold predictions Wednesday about moving forward on issues that have previously stalled in Annapolis. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said he expects lawmakers to pass an assault-weapons ban during the 90-day session, as well as other measures he will propose after last month’s school shootings in Connecticut.”

POLITICO PLAY: “Vice President Joe Biden and the NRA are sitting down Thursday morning to talk gun control. Up next for a talk: Wal-Mart. But don’t be fooled that the high-profile meetings are going to get much done. The National Rifle Association doesn’t want new gun laws. And Wal-Mart sells a lot of guns, and has a lot of gun owners for customers, so the retail giant doesn’t want to look too close to the White House’s anti-gun push either, one source familiar with the company’s stance said.”

NO CHIPS?: The Morning Joe plan, per the Washington Examiner, “A D.C. lawmaker is seeking to curb the availability of junk food in government buildings throughout the District by requiring the city's 4,000 federal and municipal government vending machines to stock healthier options. Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh's legislation calls for at least half of the offerings in the vending machines to carry a "healthy" designation under a standard set by the mayor.”

SPEEDY DECISION: Much more to come, per the Washington Times, “D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan took the unusual step this week of opining on the dismissal of a speed-camera citation issued to a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) sergeant who captured widespread attention last month from the public, consumer advocates and the media when he successfully appealed a Third Street Tunnel ticket to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).”

HONORED: On many levels, per INSIDENOVA, “It sounds like a cliché to say the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming since Chris Yung’s police motorcycle collided with a minivan on New Year’s Eve in a fiery crash on Va. 28 at Sowder Village Drive. In this case, it’s true – and it’s what the family is holding on to as they face life without Chris, a 35-year-old father of three. “We can’t put into words how thankful we are, how much you did for us,” Edward Yung said.”

MICHELLE RHEE: Getting the warm fuzzies?, per City Paper, “A long-awaited Frontline special on Michelle Rhee's tenure as schools chancellor finally aired Tuesday night. As the Post reported before the show aired, former Noyes Education Campus Principal Adell Cothorne alleged on the program that she witnessed possible answer tampering at the school but was never interviewed by the D.C. inspector general. . . But a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Education's inspector general's office, which conducted a joint investigation with the D.C. inspector general, says both her office and the U.S. Attorney's Office interviewed Cothorne about her allegations.”

THE YOUNGER VICK: As in Michael’s brother, per the Roanoke Times, “Former Virginia Tech football player Marcus Vick was found in contempt of court today for not providing court-ordered financial documents and was sentenced to five days in the New River Valley Regional Jail.”

--Skip Wood

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