MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Governor Rick Scott was in Miami on Tuesday to sign a bill which will make it illegal for Florida tax dollars to be spent on companies that do business directly or indirectly with Cuba or Syria.
Scott signed the state and local government relations bill at 11 a.m. at the Freedom Tower on Biscayne Boulevard.
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, a government widely held to be a state sponsor of terrorism.
“The records of the (Fidel & Raul) Castro and Bashar al-Assad governments are undeniably oppressive, and have worked in ways that are counter to American interests,” said Scott in a statement. “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.”
The bill got almost unanimous support in the legislature, with very little outside buzz, and despite a last-minute campaign to convince Scott to veto it the bill’s future as law was never really in doubt.
Canadian officials have warned Scott that passing the bill could seriously damage Florida’s trading relationship with Canada, with Canadian businesses much less likely to trade with Florida. Canada is a significant Cuban trading partner.
The government of Brazil also expressed similar concerns. The Florida Chamber of Commerce has flatly called the bill unconstitutional.