DAYBREAK DAILY: Virginia's first openly gay judge confirmed

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TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: Nine-month-old Evan Gill was born with a large birthmark on his forehead. His doctors recommended removing it, because it carries a risk of skin cancer. His birthmark is now gone, and his new skin is healing quite well. LIKE this post to wish baby Evan a speedy recovery.

AN OPEN REVERSAL: And the closet door is removed, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “The Virginia House and Senate elected interim Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland to a full term on the Richmond Manchester General District Court Tuesday, giving legislative approval to the state' s first openly gay judge after rejecting him last year. The Republican-controlled House voted first, approving him 66-28 with one abstention, and was followed by a Senate vote of 28-0. Twelve social conservatives in the Senate did not vote.”

GUN CONTROL ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY: While the NRA frowns, per the Washington Post, “President Obama will unveil a sweeping set of gun-control proposals at midday Wednesday, including an assault weapons ban, universal background checks and limits on the number of bullets that ammunition clips can hold, according to sources familiar with the plans. The announcement, which press secretary Jay Carney said is scheduled for about 11:45 a.m. at the White House, is also expected to include a slate of up to 19 executive actions that the Obama administration can take on its own to attempt to limit gun violence.”

POLITICO PLAY: “Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul compared President Barack Obama to an absolute monarch on Tuesday, vowing to fight any executive orders on gun control. “I’m against having a king,” Paul, the son of libertarian icon Ron Paul, told Christian Broadcasting News while traveling in Israel. “I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress — that’s someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch.”

MEANWHILE: Near Sandy Hook. . . , per the Hartford Courant, “Gun-control advocates, including parents of victims of mass shootings, delivered nearly 300,000 signatures to a Wal-Mart store a short drive from Sandy Hook Elementary School Tuesday morning, calling on the nation's largest firearms seller to pull military-style rifles off its shelves. "We're here today to ask Wal-Mart to stop selling military-grade people killers in our communities," said Lori Haas, whose daughter, Emily, was grazed twice in the back of the head during the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.”

AND THIS: In New York, Gov. Cuomo signs into law a broad package (while the NRA frowns), per the New York Times, “The expanded ban on assault weapons broadens the definition of such weapons, banning semiautomatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and one military-style feature, as well as semiautomatic shotguns with one military-style feature. New Yorkers who already own such guns can keep them but will be required to register them with the state.”

VIRGINIA VOTING: Let’s make it as difficult as possible, per the Virginian-Pilot, “It appears that any legislative response this year to the long lines endured by Virginia voters at the polls in November will be incremental at most. A House of Delegates subcommittee Tuesday killed five measures that would have allowed no-excuse early voting. The proposals would have freed voters from having to comply with a long list of specified excuses – such as disability, business travel and military service – to cast an absentee ballot.”

OK, OK, I’LL DO IT: Obama agrees to plates with "Taxation Without Representation" on his White House ride, per City Paper, “Obama ignored pleas to put the license plates on his ride during his first term. President Bill Clinton briefly had the plates installed near the end of his term, while President George W. Bush had them removed. Obama's move to reinstall the plates comes after D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh met with a White House aide to push for the plates. A unanimous Council also recently passed a resolution asking the president to reinstall the plates.”

MEANWHILE: Of a New Columbia, per DCist, “Just as she did in the opening week of the 112th Congress in 2011, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton today introduced a bill that would make D.C. the nation's 51st state. Co-sponsored by 15 Democrats, the New Columbia Admissions Act would turn the city's eight wards—minus a federal district to be carved out of the middle of the city—into the State of New Columbia, offering the 618,000 residents two senators and a voting member of the House of Representatives.”

SUBURBURN PLAYGROUND: Just one problem, per the Baltimore Sun, “Federal authorities announced Tuesday that they had cracked a large suburban Maryland drug organization, arresting 18 people and charging 15 of them with conspiracy to distribute more than a ton of marijuana. According to a federal grand jury indictment, the drug trafficking organization, primarily based in Anne Arundel County, also dealt in cocaine, prescription drugs, steroids and other drugs.”

ROOM FOR RENT: Or not, per Greater Greater Washington, “Wednesday is the final ward-based community information session for the zoning update, in Ward 4. This is a particularly important one as Councilmember Muriel Bowser seems undecided on, or leaning against, proposals to allow homeowners to rent out their basements or garages, or to permit corner stores in Petworth.”

YOU PROBABLY MISSED THIS ONE: Just the facts, per the Post, “When Congress struck a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, it also dealt a quiet blow to President Obama’s health overhaul: The new law killed a multibillion-dollar program meant to boost health insurance competition by funding nonprofit health plans. The decision to end funding for the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans has left as many as 40 start-ups vying for federal dollars in limbo.”

LIBRARY AS WAITING ROOM: Or something like that, per ARLnow, “Arlington Public Library (has) launched a new feature that allows library users to download digital copies of popular magazines for free. The service is provided by Zinio, which bills itself as the “world’s largest newsstand.” Registered library cardholders can now download unlimited copies of 100 magazines.”

SITUATION DRAGAS: Looking better for here, per the Pilot, “Helen Dragas cleared a key legislative hurdle Tuesday in her effort to retain her seat on the University of Virginia’s governing Board of Visitors, winning a 12-3 vote of approval in a state Senate committee. Still, the fact that her appointment even became a point of controversy in the General Assembly was extraordinary, illustrating the raw wound that still festers at Virginia’s flagship university over Dragas’ aborted attempt to oust U.Va. President Teresa Sullivan last summer.”

NEWSTALK (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8): A PBS documentary about Michelle Rhee and her forthcoming book have thrust D.C.'s former schools chancellor back into the spotlight. We'll talk about her legacy and the state of the city's schools. Joining us: state board of education member Patrick Mara, former councilman Sekou Biddle and parent activist Suzanne Wells.

--Skip Wood

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