ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly sunny with highs in the mid 80s. http://wj.la/72e8x6
'GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON': Among the reports - Former MPD officer and a porn-case plea; Maryland hospital says it no longer will hire smokers; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.
VIRGINIA BUDGET: What will the gambler do?, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Gov. Terry McAuliffe will play his hand today in a high-stakes poker game with the General Assembly over a proposed two-year budget that does nothing to help uninsured Virginians get health coverage. McAuliffe has scheduled a late-morning news conference at the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond to announce whether he will sign the budget; veto it as a whole or by line item; or seek a new path for expanding health coverage with billions of dollars in federal funds under the Affordable Care Act.
"Even Senate Democrats don't know the governor's decision. "We'll find out shortly before he announces it," said Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman A. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, who said the caucus is scheduled to be briefed a half-hour before the governor's news conference at 11:30 a.m.
"Health care advocates on Thursday urged McAuliffe to veto the two-year budget, which has no provisions for "closing the coverage gap" for Virginians who don't qualify for Medicaid and are too poor for insurance subsidies in the new federal marketplace." http://bit.ly/1nozCtx
MEANWHILE: Doesn't. . .make. . .sense, per the Washington Post, "LEBANON, Va. Carolyn Underwood remembers her dad coming home covered in black coal dust from the mines. "Momma would have his water ready. He'd wash his face and she would wash his neck," she said. In old age, he suffered from black lung disease and wore an oxygen supply constantly. But unlike his daughter, he never worried about how he would pay his medical bills. The union took care of it.
"That doesn't make Carolyn Underwood, 63, a supporter of expanded government health coverage, even though she would benefit from it. In a region where the decline of the coal industry has sent poverty and health-care needs soaring, another force has grown at least by equal measures: antipathy to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
"I am scared of Obamacare," Underwood said. "We've been hearing too many tales about it. We heard there's doctors who get to decide .?.?. " Before she could put her finger on the term "death panels," her sister Nancy Taylor, 62, made a gun gesture with her hand and said, "Pow!" That sort of sentiment has drawn new attention this month, after a Democratic state senator from Southwest Virginia resigned his seat, giving Republicans the majority they need to pass a state budget without new health coverage for 400,000 poor residents." http://wapo.st/1plbbhQ
THEN THERE'S THIS: Of raw data, per the Roanoke Times, "Virginians who purchased subsidized health insurance through the Affordable Care Act are paying an average monthly premium of $66 for the most popular plan, according to data released Wednesday. That's an 80 percent discount on coverage that would have cost an individual $338 before the subsidies.
"The special rates available through an online marketplace to people whose incomes place them between the Federal Poverty Guidelines ($11,490 for an individual, $23,550 for a family of four) and up to four times that level were analyzed in a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services." http://bit.ly/1m2JxXT
IMMIGRATION REFORM: With an odd twist, per the Baltimore Sun, "A policy that Gov. Martin O'Malley said would limit deportations from Baltimore to cases in which the immigrant poses a threat to public safety is facing criticism from advocates, who say it contains a loophole so large it will inevitably fall short of that goal. At issue is the way the state responds to requests by federal authorities to hold arrestees at Baltimore's Central Booking and Intake Center for possible deportation.
"O'Malley announced the new policy after The Baltimore Sun reported that 40 percent of immigrants deported from Maryland through a controversial federal program known as Secure Communities had no prior criminal record despite the Obama administration's stated focus on prioritizing for removal those who committed crimes after crossing the border. The rate in Maryland was far higher than the national average." http://bsun.md/1lakPEO
IRAQ: The latest, per the New York Times, "President Obama said Thursday that he would deploy up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to help its struggling security forces fend off a wave of Sunni militants who have overrun large parts of the country, edging the United States back into a conflict that Mr. Obama once thought he had left behind.
"Warning that the militants pose a threat not just to Iraq but also to the United States, Mr. Obama said he was prepared to take "targeted and precise military action," a campaign of airstrikes that a senior administration official said could be extended into neighboring Syria.
"Mr. Obama's calibrated military moves coupled with his pointed warning to Iraq's Shiite prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to quell his country's sectarian fires, and his announcement that Secretary of State John Kerry would embark on a diplomatic campaign opened a risky new chapter in the president's reluctant engagement with Iraq." http://nyti.ms/1vZkvvH
DONE DEAL: New majority chief, per The Hill, "House Republicans reshaped their leadership team Thursday, promoting Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) to majority leader, following the surprise primary defeat of Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.). The party picked conservative Rep. Steve Scalise (La.) to replace McCarthy as majority whip and complete the shakeup resulting from Cantor's defeat.
"McCarthy, 49, defeated conservative Rep. Raúl Labrador (Idaho) to become the second-ranking House Republican behind Speaker John Boehner (Ohio). Less than an hour later, Scalise defeated two other candidates, Reps. Peter Roskam (Ill.) and Marlin Stutzman (Ind.), on the first ballot to become chief vote-counter despite rampant speculation it might take two ballots to decide the contest." http://bit.ly/Tdbsc6
POLITICO PLAY: "Steve Scalise is known for giving his friends a little bit extra. In Louisiana, it's called lagniappe.
"Anytime anyone did a favor for the Louisiana Republican whether they made a call for him, or spoke up on behalf of a bill he favored they would find themselves on the receiving end of lagniappe (LAN-yap), or a small unexpected gift. Sometimes it was a praline Scalise has a basket of them sitting, wrapped in plastic, on a coffee table next to the couch in his office in the Rayburn House Office Building. Other times it was a personalized note, T-shirt or flowers. On Wednesday night, the lawmakers who helped put him in a position to become the next House majority whip got an engraved red baseball bat." http://politi.co/1qxfBFW
RED ROCKS: Post-concert shooting, per the Denver Post, "The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office was investigating a triple shooting late Thursday night that happened following a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokesman Mark Techmeyer said three victims were found at 6th Avenue and Kalamath Street at about 11 p.m. by Denver police. Red Rocks was shut down afterwards, with no one being allowed in or out of the park.
"The Sheriff's Office said the three victims were transported to Denver Health, adding that all were alive. Two other passengers were in the car, with the Sheriff's Office saying they were helping with the investigation. No arrests have been made in the shooting, which occured in a parking lot after the concert. The show featured Nas, Schoolboy Q and Flying Lotus." http://bit.ly/1w1zKo4
VINCE GRAY: What he didn't say, per City Paper, "Maybe Vince Gray and Muriel Bowser need to share another awkward hug. Offered another chance to finally endorse Bowser for mayor today, Gray once again begged off.
"On (Thursday's)' episode of NewsTalk on NewsChannel 8, host Bruce DePuyt asked Gray whether he was pulling for Bowser to win November's general election. "I haven't come out with any public statements as of yet," Gray said.
"Gray, who proved reluctant to even call and congratulate Bowser after the Ward 4 councilmember beat him by more than 10 percentage points in April's Democratic primary, says he's still waiting to hear about Bowser's "vision" for the District. (Apparently, more than a year of campaigning and an endless series of debates haven't explained Bowser's plans enough for Gray)." http://bit.ly/1pleBB3
THIS OLD HOUSE: Or something like that, per the Frederick News-Post, "A 200-year-old Mill House near Baughman's Lane will get the protection that historic preservation experts think it deserves, despite the fact that it will eventually need to be relocated. The Frederick Board of Aldermen agreed to place a historic overlay on the Mill House on the Conley Farm, which would require any exterior renovations to go through the city's historic preservation process." http://bit.ly/1plfoSK
UNION UNITED: Kind of, per Gazette.Net, "Top leaders of a prominent Montgomery County labor union easily survived a challenge on Wednesday the organization's first contested election in more than 20 years. Gino Renne kept his position as president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994 Municipal and County Government Employees Organization, receiving 860 votes. His opponent, Kevin Becka, had 180 votes." http://bit.ly/1lGbJ2b
GERRY GOFFIN: Obit, per Rolling Stone, "Lyricist Gerry Goffin, who cowrote the hits "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow," "The Loco-Motion" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" with his ex-wife Carole King, has died in his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday of natural causes. He was 75. His wife, Michele Goffin, reported his death, according to The Associated Press.
" "Gerry Goffin was my first love," Carole King said in a statement. "He had a profound impact on my life and the rest of the world. Gerry was a good man and a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come. His legacy to me is our two daughters, four grandchildren, and our songs that have touched millions and millions of people, as well as a lifelong friendship. He will be missed by his wonderful wife Michele, his devoted manager, Christine Russell, his five children, and six grandchildren.
"His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn't know how to say," she continued. "If you want to join his loved ones in honoring him, look at the names of the songwriters under the titles of songs. Among the titles associated with me, you'll often find Gerry's name next to mine." '' http://rol.st/1iMCmOL
SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals lose 3-0 against Atlanta.
TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: "A police union is planning a lawsuit against the MPD after the department decided to enforce a decades-old policy that all officers must retire at 64. Beloved officer Jerome Lucas has been with the team for 45 years and loves his job -- but is being forced out of the department at the age of 66. What do you think of the policy?" http://wj.la/1nnE7nY
NEWSTALK: Among today's guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is Del. Heather Mizeur, who will be asked specifics about her bid to become Maryland's next governor.