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Scott wants reversal of federal judge ruling blocking Cuba-Syria amendment

Governor Rick Scott says the state is asking an appeals court to reverse a federal judge’s ruling that blocks a law that stops state and county governments from doing business with companies that also do business with Cuba and Syria.

In a statement Tuesday, Scott said it’s important that the state send a message that Florida taxpayers do not support dictators that suppress freedom, like the “repressive governments” of Cuba and Syria. That’s why Scott says the law is right for Florida, and its original sponsor, Senator Rene Garcia agrees.

“The federal Government has already labeled both Cuba and Syria as terrorist nations. So, why are they going to force us to do business with these countries? It doesn’t make sense. I think the law is on our side. And, I think we’ll be victorious in the end,” said Garcia.

Florida company, Odebrecht Construction Inc., sued the state to halt its implementation, calling the law unconstitutional. Odebrecht Construction, expected to lose billions if the law goes into effect, filed the lawsuit against the Florida Department of Transportation, saying foreign policy power solely rests with the federal, not the state and local governments.

But, spokeswoman for the Governor’s office Jackie Schutz says Scott believes in the so-called Cuba-Syria amendment.

“As Governor Scott has said before, the Castro and the Assad Governments are undeniably repressive and it’s important that Florida taxpayers do not support dictators that suppress freedom. Governor Scott believes this law is right for Florida and he’ll continue to defend it going forward,” said Schutz.

During a ceremony to sign the so-called Cuba-Syria bill into law, Governor Rick Scott initially upset several South Florida lawmakers, when he suggested the law was unenforceable, and could conflict with federal laws.

Later, Scott said he believes the Florida Legislature drafted the bill in such a way that it would not conflict with federal laws.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.