DAYBREAK DAILY: Business community awaits Virginia lawmakers

ABC7 WEATHER: Overcast with highs in the mid 40s followed by plunging temperatures tonight.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Region braces for bitter cold; Congress gets back to work; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

VIRGINIA POLITICOS: Back in business, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “State lawmakers will take up numerous issues during the upcoming General Assembly session that could affect businesses in the state, ranging from education and workforce training to the minimum wage. Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, D-Henrico, has introduced a bill that would increase the minimum wage from the current federally mandated level of $7.25 per hour to $8.50 per hour on July 1.

“. . . Morrissey has introduced another bill that would place a 5-cent tax on disposable paper and plastic bags at grocery, convenience and drug stores. At least two bills have been introduced that would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors in Virginia. Business interests are planning to push for education and workforce development changes that would put more emphasis on jobs related to science, technology, engineering and health care.”

MEANWHILE: McAuliffe raises eyebrows, per the Washington Post, “Some of the activists who helped launch Terry McAuliffe to victory in November sound as though they’re not savoring the big win in the Virginia gubernatorial election as much as they are working through the stages of grief. “You just have to move on, accept it,” said Katherine Waddell, a Republican who backed McAuliffe (D) largely because of his support for abortion rights. “You believe in the governor and what he said. And you move on.”

“Waddell was referring to McAuliffe’s decision to reappoint Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s health and human resources secretary, William Hazel. Some abortion rights activists have bristled over McAuliffe’s choice because Hazel did not object to strict new abortion limits enacted during McDonnell’s term. Some environmental activists feel similarly jilted because of McAuliffe’s choice for natural resources secretary — former Hampton mayor Molly Joseph Ward. And environmentalists and smart-growth advocates feel a bit burned by McAuliffe’s decision to name Hampton Roads businessman Aubrey Layne as his transportation secretary.”

MARYLAND TERRORIST: Sentencing this week, per the Baltimore Sun, “Federal prosecutors are calling for up to a decade in prison for the Howard County resident who became the youngest person ever charged in a terrorism case, arguing that the Pakistani immigrant "linked up with truly dangerous people." Mohammad Hassan Khalid, who was a teenager with a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University when he was charged, is scheduled for sentencing this week. Prosecutors in Philadelphia wrote in court papers that he lived a "double life," attending Mount Hebron High School, while also aiding extremists from his home.

“Khalid pleaded guilty last year to working with a group of people — including a suburban Philadelphia woman known as JihadJane— who aspired to launch terror attacks in Europe. Recent court filings show both sides are wrestling with how to achieve justice when a teenager is drawn into a high-profile terror plot. The young man, who also translated propaganda postings from terrorist websites, put his inside knowledge of extremist groups to work helping the FBI develop a number of other investigations, prosecutors wrote.”

BERNIE MADOFF: Back in the news, per the New York Times, “Working through a long list of legal problems, JPMorgan Chase is starting the new year with another steep payout to the government.

“The bank plans to reach as soon as this week roughly $2 billion in criminal and civil settlements with federal authorities who suspect that it ignored signs of Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, according to people briefed on the case. All told, after reaching the Madoff settlements with federal prosecutors in Manhattan and regulators in Washington, the bank will have paid some $20 billion to resolve government investigations over the last 12 months.”

BRRRRRR: It’s headed here – again, per the Chicago Sun-Times, “As the icy grip of the coldest weather the region has seen in 20 years took hold Sunday night, many Chicagoans braced themselves by gathering supplies they will need to hibernate at home for a couple of days.

“. . . As of 12:51 a.m. Monday, the National Weather Service forecast called for a high of minus 13 and a low of minus 14. A wind chill of minus 29 was recorded at O’Hare early Monday. The lowest wind-chill prediction was 43. A wind-chill warning from the National Weather Service is in effect until noon Tuesday.”

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: Still on the table, per The Hill, “Senate Democratic leaders feel cautiously optimistic they have the 60 votes they need to advance unemployment benefits legislation on Monday, but that marks only the start of the congressional battle. Even if the legislation passes the Senate next week, it faces an uphill road in the House. Advocates for extended benefits say the fight could play out between the chambers for weeks.

“There is growing sentiment among Republicans that it’s time to stop extended federal unemployment benefits after nearly six years of recession and slow recovery. At least, House Republicans say the $6.4 billion cost of extending benefits another three months should be paid for with deficit-reduction measures. An estimated 1.3 million unemployed workers saw their benefits lapse when the program expired at the end of last month."

POLITICO PLAY: “Early last summer in her Georgian-style home near Washington’s Embassy Row, Hillary Clinton met with a handful of aides for a detailed presentation on preparing for a 2016 presidential campaign.

“Three officials from the Democratic consulting firm Dewey Square Group — veteran field organizer Michael Whouley, firm founder Charlie Baker and strategist Jill Alper, whose expertise includes voter attitudes toward women candidates — delivered a dispassionate, numbers-driven assessment. They broke down filing deadlines in certain states, projected how much money Clinton would need to raise and described how field operations have become more sophisticated in the era of Barack Obama.”

SERMON ON THE MOUNT: Or something like that, per the Frederick News-Post, “Mount St. Mary’s University is following what happens since Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor stalled the contraceptive mandate proscribed in the Affordable Care Act as it applies to religious groups’ health insurance policies. The university’s position hangs on the definition of religious, Mount St. Mary’s President Thomas Powell said in a telephone interview.

“Although the university does not mandate religious education and sacraments, it operates one of the nation’s largest seminary for Catholic priests and was founded by a Catholic who fled religious persecution in France, Powell said. “For us to say that’s not a religious organization Is ludicrous,” he said. “We are joyfully Catholic.”

GOLDEN TOUCH: Of a resort in horse country, per the Loudoun Times-Mirror, “Sheila Johnson wasn’t planning a resort when she moved to Middleburg, but when shown the property where Salamander Resort now stands that’s the image that came to mind. Eleven years later, having outlasted an economic recession and initial concerns about growth, Johnson now sits in the library of the completed project having overseen a successful launch and planning new ventures and new projects.

“. . . Johnson cuts a wide swath through the business world. A co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, she later became the first African-American woman to be an owner or partner in three professional sports teams: the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. As CEO of Salamander Hospitality, she manages resorts in South Carolina, Florida and Virginia.”

MAP THIS: All things District, per City Paper, “You could spend hours playing with the recently upgraded D.C. Geographic Information System. Having done so myself, I'll save you the trouble. Here, in no particular order, are a few dozen maps of the geography of all sorts of city features you never even considered, plus a few you may actually have been curious about. Some things (libraries, tennis courts, speed cameras) are spread evenly throughout the city; others are concentrated in wealthier (sidewalk cafes, grocery stores), poorer (public housing, closed public schools), or more densely populated (post offices, liquor licenses) neighborhoods.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Wizards lose 112-96 against Golden State.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Don't be fooled by the balmy 41 degree temp at the moment. Bitterly cold air will roll into the D.C. area Monday. And Tuesday could be our coldest day in 20 years or more. Please stay warm, help your neighbors, keep all pets indoors, protect your plants. And rejoice, because by the weekend we should reach the 50s again.”

NEWSTALK: 10 a.m., NewsChannel 8.

--Skip Wood