DAYBREAK DAILY: Warner, Kaine like immigration-reform bill

ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly cloudy with highs in the upper 70s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the stories – Coverage of an explosion at a Waco, Texas fertilizer plant that killed at least two people and left more than 100 others badly injured; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m.

FERTILIZER-PLANT EXPLOSION: Just the facts, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “An explosion at a fertilizer plant in West killed at least two people Wednesday night, injured scores and sent flames shooting high into the night sky, leaving the factory in smoldering ruins and causing major damage to surrounding buildings. More than 100 people either have been or are currently being seen for injuries at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, the hospital's CEO Glenn Robinson said.”

IMMIGRATION REFORM: Reactions mixed, to say the least, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Just hours after its formal introduction early Wednesday, the bipartisan Senate proposal on immigration reform has sparked an intense debate, as lawmakers and groups on all sides digest the 844 pages of legislation designed to fix chronic problems in the system and put an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship. Democratic lawmakers from Virginia praised the measure, while Republicans exercised restraint, waiting to see how the bill fares in the Senate in coming weeks.

“My initial impressions are very positive,” said Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va. “I am encouraged to see a consensus forming to take action to reform our broken immigration system. Immigrants in Virginia are small-business owners, entrepreneurs, agricultural workers, top students, neighbors and community leaders. These new Americans help make our commonwealth stronger.” Sen. Timothy M. Kaine, D-Va., said he was “especially encouraged by the expedited green card process for young people who were brought here at a young age and have only known this country as home.”

BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING: Of another so-called “breakthrough,”per the Boston Globe, “In a potential breakthrough in the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing, investigators have isolated ¬images of a suspect carrying and perhaps dropping a black bag believed to have held one of two bombs that exploded 12 seconds apart Monday near the finish line of the historic race, said an official briefed on the investigation.

“Authorities were “very close” Wednesday in their pursuit of the bomber, said the ¬official, who declined to be named. A surveillance camera at the Lord & Taylor store, across Boylston Street from the ¬Forum restaurant where the second bomb exploded, has provided video of the area, though it was unclear whether the image of the suspect came from that camera, the official said.”

GUN-CONTROL BILL DIES: Senate move angers many, per the Washington Post, “President Obama’s ambitious effort to overhaul the nation’s gun laws in response to December’s school massacre in Connecticut suffered a resounding defeat Wednesday, when every major proposal he championed fell apart on the Senate floor. It was a stunning collapse for gun-control advocates just four months after the deaths of 20 children and six adults in Newtown led the president and many others to believe that the political climate on guns had been altered in their favor.

“. . .(The) biggest setback for the White House was the defeat of a measure to expand background checks to most gun sales. The Senate defied polls showing that nine in 10 Americans support the idea, which was designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. “All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” a visibly angry Obama said as he delivered his response to the nation.”

OPINION: Thumbs down, per the New York Times editorial board, “For 45 senators, the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School is a forgotten tragedy. The toll of 270 Americans who are shot every day is not a problem requiring action. The easy access to guns on the Internet, and the inevitability of the next massacre, is not worth preventing.

“Those senators, 41 Republicans and four Democrats, killed a bill on Wednesday to expand background checks for gun buyers. It was the last, best hope for meaningful legislation to reduce gun violence after a deranged man used semiautomatic weapons to kill 20 children and six adults at the school in Newtown, Conn., 18 weeks ago. A ban on assault weapons was voted down by 60 senators; 54 voted against a limit on bullet magazines.”

RICIN LETTERS: Arrest is made, per the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, “A Mississippi man is in custody, accused of sending letters to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and President Barack Obama believed to be laced with a deadly toxin. FBI agents arrested Paul Kevin Curtis, 42, at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday at his apartment in Corinth, said FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen.”

POLITICO PLAY: “National Republicans are pulling the plug on Mark Sanford’s suddenly besieged congressional campaign, POLITICO has learned — a potentially fatal blow to the former South Carolina governor’s dramatic comeback bid. Blindsided by news that Sanford’s ex-wife has accused him of trespassing and concluding he has no plausible path to victory, the National Republican Congressional Committee has decided not to spend more money on Sanford’s behalf ahead of the May 7 special election.”

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MISSING BOY FOUND: Just the facts, per ABC7 – WJLA, “A missing 5-year-old Fairfax County boy has been located in Las Vegas, authorities say. Cameron Serafin was allegedly abducted by his mother, 32-year-old Rebecca Serafin. The pair was last seen in the baggage claim area at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on April 11.”

MARYLAND VETS: They get a mandated boost, per Gazette.Net, “First Lady Michelle Obama visited Annapolis Wednesday as Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation that streamlines the process for veterans to gain certification and licensing for state-regulated professions. The bill comes from a call from Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, for states to make it easier for veterans to find employment when they leave the military.”

STORM WATER: Footing the bill, per the Washington Examiner, “Most Montgomery County homeowners will be paying less for a state-mandated storm water fee, while businesses and nonprofits will have to begin paying as much as thousands of dollars in new fees under a bill approved by the Montgomery County Council. The bill extends the Water Quality Protection Charge, which homeowners already pay, to all properties in the county.”

BACKING OFF IN MARYLAND: More gun talk, per the Washington Times, “Maryland gun activists on Wednesday made the surprising announcement that they would not pursue a referendum to block sweeping gun laws passed by the General Assembly earlier this month, choosing instead to lend their support to a planned lawsuit by the National Rifle Association challenging the new measures. Standing before about 100 supporters at a Jessup beer hall, Delegate Neil C. Parrot defended the decision and reiterated his opposition to the new gun laws.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals beat Miami 6-1; Wizards lose 95-92 against Chicago.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: Have you ever wanted a Vietnam-era Marine Corps chopper? Well, you can be the proud owner of one as the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum makes room for new additions. The museum's list of items to give away to qualified museums and educational organizations ranges from space suits to rocket engines.

NEWSTALK: 10 a.m., NewsChannel 8.

--Skip Wood

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