The News Service of Florida - July 25, 2012 -
The Florida Department of Transportation on Tuesday took the first step in an appealing an injunction against a new law that would prevent state and local governments from contracting with companies that have business links to Cuba and Syria. Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement to announce the appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. "As I have said before, the Castro and Assad governments are undeniably repressive, and it is important that Florida taxpayers do not support dictators that suppress freedom,'' the Scott statement said. "I firmly believe this law is right for Florida and will continue to defend it going forward." U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore last month blocked the law, saying it likely violates the federal constitution. The law, which was challenged by Odebrecht Construction, Inc., would prevent companies from receiving government contracts of $1 million or more if they do business in Cuba or Syria or are affiliated with firms that do business there. Odebrecht, a Coral Gables-based firm that does major transportation and construction projects, is a subsidiary of the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht S.A. Another subsidiary of the firm is involved in the expansion of the Cuban port of Mariel, according to the lawsuit. Odebrecht argues that the law is unconstitutional because it intrudes on the federal government's powers to set foreign policy.
MIAMI – May 1, 2012 -
Governor Rick Scott signed legislation today intended to prevent taxpayer dollars from ending up in the hands of companies with business ties to the dictatorships of Cuba or Syria. House Bill 959 lays the groundwork to prevent state and local governments from entering contracts worth $1 million or more with businesses operating in Cuba and Syria.
“The records of the Castro and Assad governments are undeniably oppressive, and have worked in ways that are counter to American interests,” Governor Scott said. “The legislation I’m signing today is designed to protect Florida taxpayers from unintentionally supporting dictators that suppress freedom and the rights of individuals, but we must have a federal partner that will permit this law to become operative.”
This legislation demonstrates Florida’s commitment to spreading political and economic freedom in Cuba and Syria and builds on previous legislation that prohibits state and local government contracts with companies doing business in Sudan and Iran. The bill also ensures that the State Board of Administration will not have the opportunity to vote on a proxy resolution that would call for expanded United States trade with Cuba or Syria.
“The Cuban and Syrian regimes are no better than the Iranian and Sudanese regimes, and the federal government should consistently permit the states to impose the same sanctions on each of these dictatorships,” said Governor Scott. “I call on President Obama to introduce federal legislation that would permit Florida to enforce this important law.”
For the full text of Governor Scott’s signing letter, please visit here.