DAYBREAK DAILY: Arlington's Favola says 'war on women continues'

ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly cloudy with rain early and highs in the upper 50s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Overnight shooting in Beltsville; Powerball jackpot at $400 million; Deadly violence erupts in Ukraine; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

WAR ON WOMEN: So says Arlington’s Favola, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “A coalition of Democratic state senators and delegates said Tuesday that amendments embedded in the budget proposed by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates pose a threat to women’s health. “The war on women continues,” said Sen. Barbara A. Favola, D-Arlington, a member of the Women’s Reproductive Health Caucus.

"Favola and more than a half-dozen female lawmakers stated their opposition to amendments aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood and eliminating coverage under Medicaid for abortions for poor women whose babies would be born with gross fetal abnormalities. They also objected to an amendment that would effectively prohibit the governor from altering the enforcement of new clinic construction requirements that critics say will impose costs that will force the closure of a number of first-trimester abortion clinics in the state.”

MARYLAND RACE 2014: Mizeur goes on the offensive, per the Baltimore Sun, “As hopefuls in the governor’s race debated transportation Tuesday night, Del. Heather Mizeur questioned Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown's competence in light of the failing health care exchange he oversaw. Mizeur said the pending public-private-partnership to build the 16-mile Purple Line between Prince George’s and Montgomery counties would cost ten times the amount of money spent on the online insurance marketplace. And like the health exchange, the Purple Line deal was complicated and challenging to implement, she said.

"It's a fair question to ask that if we're trusting the same people to create a similarly untested, complex project to deliver public services, and they failed once, what makes us think we're going to get a different result this time?" said Mizeur, a Democrat from Montgomery County. Mizeur's questioned Brown's leadership during a forum held in Silver Spring by Purple Line NOW!, an advocacy group. While the Democratic primary race has been fought bitterly between Brown and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, who is also in the race, Mizeur has largely avoided direct attacks on her two rivals. Last month, she criticized the health care rollout as “a debacle.”

MEANWHILE: New poll favors Brown, per the Washington Post, “Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown holds a 2-to-1 lead over his closest rival in Maryland’s bitter Democratic gubernatorial primary race, according to a new Washington Post poll, though most voters say they could change their minds before the June contest. Brown, who would be the state’s first African American governor, enjoys sizable leads in his home county of Prince George’s, as well as in the Baltimore region, where he runs strongest in a race among three Washington area candidates.

“Statewide, 34 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent voters support Brown in the primary, while 15 percent back Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and 8 percent support Del. Heather R. Mizeur. Gansler and Mizeur reside in Montgomery County. Fully 43 percent say they are undecided, however, and almost six in 10 who have a preferred candidate say there is at least some chance they could switch allegiances before the June 24 primary. Gansler and Mizeur aides played down Brown’s lead Tuesday, saying the race to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is wide open and noting that the campaign season has not yet swung into high gear.”

DRILL BABY, DRILL: Or not, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Drilling for gas and oil off Virginia's coast is still forbidden, but proponents hope a federal study due within two weeks will let them at least start looking for places to set up drilling rigs. Industry officials are seeking federal permits to conduct seismic testing - using airguns to bounce sound waves off the ocean floor and deeper formations - to explore anomalies that could indicate the presence of oil and gas deposits.

“A long-awaited environmental impact statement needed in advance of the testing will be released this month, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The analysis will examine how seismic surveys in the mid- and south Atlantic would affect marine life and what must be done to mitigate possible harm. Nine companies have requested permits to conduct seismic surveys.”

MORTGAGE MUDDLE: It’s the paperwork, per the New York Times, “A growing number of homeowners trying to avert foreclosure are confronting problems on a new front as the mortgage industry undergoes a seismic shift. Shoddy paperwork, erroneous fees and wrongful evictions — the same abuses that dogged the nation’s largest banks and led to a $26 billion settlement with federal authorities in 2012 — are now cropping up among the specialty firms that collect mortgage payments, according to dozens of foreclosure lawsuits and interviews with borrowers, federal and state regulators and housing lawyers.

“These companies are known as servicers, but they do far more than transfer payments from borrowers to lenders. They have great power in deciding whether homeowners can win a mortgage modification or must hand over their home in a foreclosure. And they have been buying up servicing rights at a voracious rate. As a result, some homeowners are mired in delays and confronting the same heartaches, like the peculiar frustration of being asked for the same documents over and over again as the rights to their mortgage changes hands.”

TED NUGENT: Just the facts, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Texas voters got their first chance to cast ballots Tuesday for the March 4 primaries, but rabble-rousing rocker Ted Nugent stole the show as early voting began. Nugent, an outspoken gun rights activist, campaigned with Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott Tuesday, sparking criticism from Democrats and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who say he disrespects women and others.

“We don’t have to question Greg Abbott’s courage, because he invited me here today,” Nugent said during an event in Denton, later adding that a female politician similar to Davis created a “cesspool” under her leadership. After casting her ballot in the Democratic Primary, Davis said Abbott’s decision to include Nugent in get-out-the-vote events shows what kind of man he is.”

HOUSE BOAT: Barely, per ABC7—WJLA, “This is the area the sailboat was docked, where Cyprus Creek meets the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County. Someone here called police when they spotted two children huddled under blankets on deck. "It's pretty bad...I'm surprised for this area," says resident John Capper.

"It was just unbelievable to hear of the conditions and those poor children," adds Michelle Van Daniker. Investigators tell us they found a 28-foot sailboat with no running water, electricity, or heat. A family of five and two dogs were living in the nine-by-ten foot space in deplorable conditions – with human waste in bags and bottles.”

MIXED NEWS: Of the minimum wage, per The Hill, “President Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would cost 500,000 jobs in 2016, according to a report released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The report also found hiking the wage from $7.25 per hour would raise income for about 16.5 million workers by $31 billion, potentially pulling nearly 1 million people out of poverty.

“The White House and economic groups on the left immediately pushed back at the CBO’s conclusions on jobs even as they hailed the findings on poverty, saying its conclusions on jobs ran counter to other research. “CBO’s estimates of the impact of raising the minimum wage on employment does not reflect the current consensus view of economists,” Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman wrote in a blog post. “The bulk of academic studies, have concluded that the effects on employment of minimum wage increases in the range now under consideration are likely to be small to nonexistent.”

POLITICO PLAY: “A group of Senate Republicans is meeting quietly to plot an unusual strategy: passing a top Democratic priority. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has vowed to press the GOP on unemployment benefits — forcing them to keep taking votes on a bill to extend aid to the long-term unemployed. But Republicans have rejected it twice since the program expired on Dec. 28.

“Sens. Dan Coats of Indiana, Rob Portman of Ohio, Dean Heller of Nevada and Susan Collins of Maine want a deal that could bring the Democratic drumbeat to an end. They gathered last week to plan how to revisit the cause when the Senate returns next week, hoping they can get Democrats to agree to their policy changes and finally move the red-hot issue off the Senate’s plate.”

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Of a headline, per City Paper, “The Washington Post found itself juggling story headlines after making a surprisingly controversial statement in one: Mayoral hopeful and Ward 2 D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans is white.

“Evans got his turn in the Post's series of mayoral profiles, with the headline "Jack Evans, a White D.C. Council Member, Sets His Sights on Becoming Mayor of Washington." After Twitter bafflement that the paper included Evans' race in the headline, including some from Vince Gray campaign manager and self-declared election policeman Chuck Thies, the Post substituted in an anodyne headline that described Evans only as a "veteran political tactician." Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti says the new headline was put in after the original one "just missed. . .The headline as first written didn’t convey the point that was made in the story, which is that he is trying to become the first white mayor," Coratti writes in an email.”

CLOSING A LOOPHOLE: Just the facts, per Gazette.Net, “Two groups of Maryland legislators want to close a statutory loophole regarding which adults can and should be punished for engaging in sexual conduct with a student. One bill would apply to adults who work with children in either a school system or a county recreation program. A second bill adds to that list volunteers at schools and employees and volunteers at private recreation facilities.

"Both bills agree that coaches should be written into the law. Maryland law criminalizes sexual contact between certain people in a position of authority and a minor in their care, but lawmakers say there is a huge loophole in the law. The law defines individuals in positions of authority to include principals, vice principals, teachers and school counselors. However, the law applies only to individuals who are full-time, permanent employees. It does not apply to part-time employees and coaches, substitute teachers or volunteers.”

LOUDOUN SCHOOLS: Of a budget, per the Loudoun Times-Mirror, “Loudoun County Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) told School Board members the Board of Supervisors won't grant Loudoun County Public Schools full funding for the school system's adopted fiscal 2015 budget.

“While not necessarily a surprise, Mr. York's statement during the joint meeting of the two board's was the strongest public pronouncement yet that the School Board will need to find cuts within its nearly $949 million budget for the coming year. Currently, the gap between the LCPS adopted budget and the anticipated county allocation is just less than $40 million.”

ETHAN SAYLOR: And a movement, per the Frederick News-Post, “As a father with a 25-year-old son on the autism spectrum, Jeff Moran said he has lost sleep worrying about his child encountering the type of situation that led to Ethan Saylor's death. Standing with a crowd of disability rights advocates Tuesday outside the Maryland State House, Moran said he wonders what would happen if his son came into contact with police or first responders in the community. "He may present as a typical young man, but the more that they may interact with him, he might become evasive," Moran said. "They could take actions against him."

"Saylor, a New Market man with Down syndrome, died last year as off-duty Frederick County sheriff's deputies were forcibly removing him from a movie theater. His death sparked an outcry from many advocates for disabled individuals and led to the formation of Ethan's Law Work Group to strategize about improving first-responder training. The group members including Moran came to Annapolis to help lay the groundwork for future legislation in honor of Saylor. Each year, disability rights advocates visit the state capital to petition state senators and delegates on issues from employment to housing, with Tuesday's event themed around respect.”

THE 8TH: Big field gets bigger, per ARLnow, “Liberal talk show host Mark Levine will join this year’s crowded Democratic primary race for retiring Rep. Jim Moran’s 8th Congressional District seat. Levine, 47, hosts “The Inside Scoop,” a syndicated talk-radio program, and has previously worked as a legislative counsel to former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). He also has worked as a corporate trial attorney, teacher and “Nazi hunter” for the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Levine’s entrance into the race makes the field for the June Democratic primary an 11-horse race, along with Dels. Alfonso Lopez, Patrick Hope, Charniele Herring and Mark Sickles, state Sen. Adam Ebbin, Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer and Lavern Chatman, Bruce Shuttleworth and Derek Hyra. Republican Micah Edmond is also vying for the seat.”

MLK LIBRARY: Presenting the upgrade team, per DCist, “The city has selected the team of Mecanoo, Martinez and Johnson Architecture to renovate the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. . .The selected team promised to "keep Mies: Mies. Or even better: improve Mies in a contemporary Miesian way." Indeed, of the three proposed ideas, the Mecanoo, Martinez and Johnson design stayed closest to the existing feel of the building.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Wizards lose 103-93 against Toronto.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “What started out as a normal day at school turned into a life-changing moment for three seniors at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Northeast D.C. Tuesday morning. They were each surprised with thousands of dollars in scholarship money, from $80,000 to $140,000 -- a full ride.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is former Virginia Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, who will be askd about his bid for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Jim Moran (D).

--Skip Wood