DAYBREAK DAILY: Maryland nixes same-sex relationship insurance

ABC7 WEATHER: Partly cloudy with highs in the upper 60s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the stories – Human trafficking to be addressed at a forum; Fairfax County and a restaurant tax; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m.

MARYLAND AND SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Now here’s a twist, per the Baltimore Sun, “The O'Malley administration has notified state employees in same-sex relationships that they won't be able to include domestic partners in their health insurance anymore. If they want coverage, they'll have to get married.

“The policy change is the result of the new Maryland law allowing same-sex marriage, which took effect Jan. 1. The thinking is that offering health coverage to an unmarried same-sex partner doesn't make sense anymore, officials said, particularly since an unmarried heterosexual partner doesn't have the same right.”

CUCCINELLI ALLOWED TO WITHDRAW: No, it’s not what you’re thinking, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “A Richmond judge Thursday let Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office withdraw as prosecutor against former Executive Mansion chef Todd Schneider, but deferred a decision on whether to dismiss felony embezzlement charges against him until a new prosecutor can review the case. Richmond Circuit Court Judge Margaret P. Spencer appointed Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Gregory D. Underwood to handle the case, going against Cuccinelli’s recommendation of Prince William Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert. The judge set a status hearing on the case for May 14.

“. . . Senior assistant attorney general Patrick Dorgan told the court that recusal was necessary to avoid “any whiff of impropriety” in the case. But Schneider’s attorney Steven D. Benjamin argued that Cuccinelli knew of the conflicts months before the recusal motion and his recent decision to seek indictments against the chef, who worked for Gov. Bob McDonnell and the first family from 2010 to early 2012.”

BRUTALITY IN LAUREL: Just the facts, per the Washington Post, “A Laurel man and woman were found apparently stabbed and beaten to death Thursday in the bedroom they shared with the woman’s severely disabled daughter. The daughter was unharmed, law enforcement officials said. Police said homicide detectives were still working to unravel what happened inside the ground-floor apartment on Muirkirk Road, interviewing family members and other residents of the Montpelier Crossing community.”

MARATHON BOMBINGS: A change of plans, per the Boston Globe, “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, told federal investigators that he and his brother initially planned to detonate explosives at Boston’s vaunted July 4th celebration on the Charles River Esplanade, according to two officials briefed on the interrogation. When the brothers built the bombs faster than they had anticipated, they then drove around Boston and Cambridge sometime before Marathon day, casing police stations, with an alternative plan to launch an attack on law enforcement officers, one of the officials said.”

CALIFORNIA BURNING: Literally, per the Los Angeles Times, “. . .Hundreds of residents in several Ventura County communities fled their homes Thursday to escape a fast-moving brush fire that burned 8,000 acres and threatened thousands of homes. Hundreds of firefighters struggled to protect houses from the blaze, which damaged 15 homes and was about 10% contained late Thursday. Meanwhile, similar dry, windy conditions drove fires that destroyed homes, cars and a boat elsewhere in Southern California.”

FUNNY MONEY: Actually, it’s not so funny, per the New York Times, “Government investigators have found that JPMorgan Chase devised “manipulative schemes” that transformed “money-losing power plants into powerful profit centers,” and that one of its most senior executives gave “false and misleading statements” under oath. The findings appear in a confidential government document, reviewed by The New York Times, that was sent to the bank in March, warning of a potential crackdown by the regulator of the nation’s energy markets.”

POLITICO PLAY: “Vice President Joe Biden is planning a new gun control offensive – one he told a group of law enforcement officials he hasn’t informed President Barack Obama about yet. Biden, who will appear Friday night at a South Carolina Democratic dinner, told the officials during a meeting Thursday that he is planning trips around the country to stump for the expanded background checks and gun trafficking laws that failed to pass the Senate last month.”

GRAB THE CAR KEYS: Come one, come all, per ABC7 – WJLA, “Undocumented immigrants would be able to get driver's licenses in D.C. under a bill that Mayor Vincent Gray introduced Thursday afternoon. The bill would allow district residents to obtain a license or a city identification card regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.”

MATH PROBLEM: Of an odd trend, per the Washington Examiner, “Almost two-thirds of high school students in Montgomery County who took Algebra I last semester failed their final math exam, causing parents and school officials to search for answers as to what went wrong. Data shows 61 percent -- or about 2,700 -- of high school students in the county taking Algebra I failed the final exam for the class last semester.”

SAVE THE BAY: Of methodology, per Gazette.Net, “A new stormwater pollution-control fee for businesses and nonprofits approved this week by the Montgomery County Council will cause some initial concerns, but those should be smoothed out throughout time, some executives with commercial property companies said. The fee — fueled by a state law passed last year in response to an order by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the Chesapeake Bay — is being phased in during the next three years in the county.”

NEVER MIND: Upon further review. . ., per the Washington Times, “The man arrested for Wednesday’s fatal shooting in the District’s Trinidad neighborhood was acting in self-defense, and charges against him have been dropped, D.C. police said Thursday.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Caps beat New York 3-1in playoff opener; Nationals beat Atlanta 3-1.

LOOSE LIPS: Of a brief hiatus, per City Paper, “Wondering what happened to LL? Don't worry—it'll be back soon. (The) column from Washington City Paper's April 26 issue was Alan Suderman's final one as LL (the issue also featured his cover profile of Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser, who's running for mayor). Suderman has a new job at the Center for Public Integrity, writing about money in state politics.”

NEWSTALK: 10 a.m., NewsChannel 8.

--Skip Wood