DAYBREAK DAILY: Virginia Senate mulls beach smoking ban

ABC7 TRAFFIC: Good Morning Washington has updates every 10 minutes beginning at 4:30 a.m.

ABC7 WEATHER: Overcast with rain and highs near 70.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: A Virginia bill allowing students to object when secular teachings violate their religious beliefs is advancing despite a promise to challenge it in court.

GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON: Among the stories covered will be immigration reform, a tractor-trailer crash on the Beltway in Prince George’s County, the manslaughter conviction of a Culpeper cop, live Super Bowl coverage from New Orleans and much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m.

BEACH BUTTS: A lot of them, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Chic's Beach native Donny Damon . . .presented to a panel of (Va.) state senators two water jugs crammed full of 16,000 cigarette butts (and) they all came from his seven-block span of sand lining the Chesapeake Bay. A ban on littering doesn't seem to be doing enough, and Damon has been pushing since last summer to end smoking on Chic's Beach altogether.

“He got one step closer. . . when the Senate Committee on Local Government approved a bill (SB1253) to give Virginia Beach and other localities the authority to outlaw smoking on public beaches and in other outdoor public spaces, such as parks. It will likely get a vote in the Senate later this week, but will still require approval from the House.”

U.VA.’S DRAGAS CONFIRMED: But the saga continues, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Helen Dragas won confirmation Tuesday as the House of Delegates voted to return the embattled rector to the University of Virginia board of visitors for a second four-year term. Dragas’ approval by a 63-33 vote is her final hurdle in the contentious process, but doesn’t signal an end to the discord resulting from the board’s unsuccessful attempt last summer to remove President Teresa Sullivan.”

ANOTHER CLIFF: Of a different variety, per the Washington Post, “Less than a month after averting one fiscal crisis, Washington began bracing Tuesday for another, as lawmakers in both parties predicted that deep, across-the-board spending cuts would probably hit the Pentagon and other federal agencies on March 1. An array of proposals are in the works to delay or replace the cuts. But party leaders say they see no clear path to compromise.”

787 WOES: Who knew what and when?, per the New York Times, “Even before two battery failures led to the grounding of all Boeing 787 jets this month, the lithium-ion batteries used on the aircraft had experienced multiple problems that raised questions about their reliability. Officials at All Nippon Airways, the jets’ biggest operator, said in an interview on Tuesday that it replaced 10 of the batteries in the months before fire in one plane and smoke in another led regulators around the world to ground the jets.”

RUNNING IN D.C.: Probably so, anyway, per City Paper, “Ward 6 Councilmartyr Saint Tommy Wells says he'll be launching an exploratory committee for mayor on Monday, as well as kicking off a more official "listening tour" that night at the Big Chair Coffee & Grill in Anacostia. It's no secret that Wells has been exploring a run for mayor for quite some time. Launching an exploratory committee just makes it semi-official that Wells will be a candidate the next time there's a mayor's race.”{ }

POLITICO PLAY: “New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has expanded his Washington footprint dramatically over the past two years, using his enormous clout and seasoned lobbying hands to push a nexus of issues that the White House and Congress are just beginning to address. From guns to gay marriage to immigration to infrastructure — and most recently, in the battle for billions of federal dollars in Hurricane Sandy relief — Bloomberg’s presence in Washington has grown exponentially since 2011.”

LANUM UPDATE: An arrest, per the Washington Examiner, “The procurement boss for the District's Department of General Services was arrested and charged with drunken driving after police said he was discovered sleeping in a parked car with an open wine bottle on a workday. Jerry Wayne Lanum, 65, was charged last fall with driving under the influence and operating a vehicle while impaired, according to D.C. court documents.”

BILL BOLLING: A potential non-factor, per the Washington Times, “For the second time in a week, Virginia poll results suggest an independent gubernatorial run by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling would have little effect on likely Republican nominee Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II in a contest with Democrat Terry McAuliffe.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Caps lose 3-2 against Ottawa.

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is Dr. Gridlock, Robert Thompson of the Washington Post.

--Skip Wood

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