DAYBREAK DAILY: More scrutiny coming for gay Virginia judge

ABC 7 TRAFFIC: Good Morning Washington has updates every 10 minutes beginning at 4:30 a.m.

ABC7 WEATHER: Foggy and rainy with highs in the upper 50s.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: NHL hockey is finally back, and this time it's official after the sides agreed to a required memorandum of understanding late Saturday night. The Capitals begin the season on January 19. Nicklas Backstrom, left, and Alex Ovechkin are ready. Are you ready for the Caps and NHL action? Story and schedule:

GUN CRACKDOWN: At least that’s the plan, per the Washington Post, “Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will seek to institute some of the nation’s strictest gun-licensing requirements, ban assault weapons and restrict visitor access to schools in one of the most expansive government responses sought to last month’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Perhaps most controversially, O’Malley (D) will ask the General Assembly to force prospective gun owners to provide fingerprints to state police, complete a hands-on weapon-familiarization and gun-safety course, and undergo a background check to be licensed.”

HERE WE GO AGAIN: Of Tracy Thorne-Begland, per the Virginian-Pilot, “A gay judicial candidate who last year was rejected by the legislature for a Richmond General District Court seat, then appointed to the bench by Circuit Court judges, now faces a confirmation trial to remain in that post. That formal process begins today when Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland is one of the appointees scheduled for interviews before a panel of legislators evaluating their job performance.”

MEDICAID PRICE STICKER: A supposed , per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “The administration of Gov. Bob McDonnell estimates that expanding Virginia’s Medicaid program would cost the state $137.5 million over nine years, far lower than previous estimates that have ranged as high as $2.2 billion. The estimate reflects $584.3 million in expected savings in the first five years of the expansion, although $142.2 million in net savings come from provisions of the Affordable Care Act that do not depend on Medicaid expansion.”

POLITICO PLAY: “House Republicans are seriously entertaining dramatic steps, including default or shutting down the government, to force President Barack Obama to finally cut spending by the end of March. The idea of allowing the country to default by refusing to increase the debt limit is getting more widespread and serious traction among House Republicans than people realize, though GOP leaders think shutting down the government is the much more likely outcome of the spending fights this winter.”

VA. TECH SHOOTINGS: Advice for the VP, per the Roanoke Times, “When Vice President Joe Biden releases his recommendations for reducing gun violence Tuesday, Blacksburg Mayor Ron Rordam is guessing they'll have a familiar ring. That's because just before Christmas, Rordam was among 12 mayors from around the country who joined a conference call with Biden that stretched more than an hour as the officials explored the lingering effects that mass shootings have on communities.”

PENSION PAIN: It’s getting worse, and so. . ., per the Washington Examiner, “The Republican speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates wants to start requiring new state employees to contribute to their own 401(k)-style retirement plans rather than continue to rely on a grossly underfunded public pension system that is becoming a drain on the state's budget. House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Fredericksburg, said the bulk of an employee's pension should come from stock market investments rather than taxpayers.”

SAME-SEX VOWS: Gee, never saw this coming, per the Washington Times, “The decision by leaders of the Washington National Cathedral to perform same-sex weddings is getting a mixed reception, with supporters calling it consistent with the church’s path for more than a decade and critics warning of further division on an issue that has roiled religious denominations across the country.”

FATAL FIRE: Just the facts, per ABC7 – WJLA, “A massive apartment fire in New Carrollton that killed at least two residents is being described as suspicious in nature. It was a dramatic and traumatic scene as witnesses to the fire watched in terror as a man cried for help from his balcony.”

HE STRONGLY DISAGREES: Of Ken Cuccinelli’s endorsement of civil disobedience to protest contraception clause in federal health-care act, per the Times-Dispatch, “On Friday, Terry McAuliffe, Cuccinelli’s presumptive Democratic challenger for governor in 2013, characterized the Virginia attorney general’s remarks as “divisive,” and “far outside the mainstream…Our next Governor needs to focus on mainstream ideas for economic growth instead of spending their time on a divisive ideological agenda to restrict women’s health care,” McAuliffe said in a statement.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: In men’s basketball, Maryland falls against Miami 54-47.

YOUR CHECK, SIR: And a hefty one, indeed, per City Paper, “District officials want Jeff Thompson, the alleged shadow financier behind what federal prosecutors say was an illegal effort to get Mayor Vince Gray elected, to pay up to $3.8 million to the Medicaid managed care organization he owns that is currently under city control.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who will be asked about the budget drama facing Congress, gun control, the lack of diversity in the president's cabinet, the budget autonomy referendum and the effort to get the White House to put D.C.'s tax-message license plates on the president's limo.

--Skip Wood

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