Florida Five: Obama opens East Coast to oil search, Police KKK ties, Obamacare lawsuit update

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

larry-kawa-headshot-2Florida orthodontist braces for oral arguments in landmark Obamacare lawsuit: Dr. Larry Kawa is about as far removed from the federal governing structure as any private citizen. But the Boca Raton orthodontist does have something in common with the U.S. House of Representatives.Both see the Obama administration’s unilateral delay of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate as an abuse of executive power. But while the Republican-led House weighs the efficacy of a push-back lawsuit against President Obama, Kawa has been duking it out in federal court for nearly a year. His efforts seem to be paying off. Read more.

Florida town stunned by news of police KKK ties: Ann Hunnewell and her central Florida police officer husband knelt in the living room of a fellow officer’s home, with pillow cases as makeshift hoods over their heads. A few words were spoken and they, along with a half-dozen others, were initiated into the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, she says. Last week, that five-year-old initiation ceremony stunned residents of the small town of Fruitland Park, who found out an investigative report linked two city officers with the secret hate society that once was violently active in the area. Ann Hunnewell’s ex-husband, George Hunnewell, was fired, and deputy chief David Borst resigned from the 13-member Fruitland Park Police Department. Borst has denied being a member. Read more.

Feds approve oil exploration off US Eastern Coast: The Obama administration has sided with energy developers over environmentalists, approving the use of underwater blasts of sound to pinpoint oil and gas deposits in federal Atlantic Ocean waters.The regulatory decision is the first real step toward what could be an economic transformation in East Coast states, potentially creating a new energy infrastructure, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue. But it dismayed people who owe their livelihoods to fisheries and tourism, and activists said it stains President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy. Read more.

Policing sucrose is not panacea: The sugar industry has been a significant part of Florida’s proud history since before the American Revolution. Nearly 250 years later, the sugar industry now contributes $3.2 billion in economic activity and supports nearly 12,500 jobs in the Sunshine State. Sugar farmers are committed to keeping this proud tradition alive for many more generations, and that means protecting their most vital assets: the land and the brand of all natural sugar (sucrose). Farmers have reduced the use of chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides, resulting in cleaner water and healthier soil. The industry has also contributed more than $200 million for Everglades restoration. Read more.

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Photo: Thefederalistpapers.org

Teachers union takes on Florida school choice law: A lawsuit from Florida teachers would eliminate school choice for many low-income students and effectively kill a program to help students with autism and other special needs.The lawsuit would wipe out the state’s new education savings account program and an expansion to the tax-credit scholarship program. Read more.

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page

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