Scott faulted over Cuba, Syria bill stance

May 2, 2012 at 1:09 PM
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MIAMI, May 2 (UPI) -- Lawmakers faulted Florida Gov. Rick Scott for calling unenforceable a law barring state and local governments from hiring firms doing business in Cuba or Syria.

Scott had signed the law in Miami Tuesday, drawing praise from federal, state and local Cuban-American lawmakers, but drew criticism from fellow Republicans for calling the bill unenforceable, The Miami Herald reported.

"As a Florida taxpayer who does not want my tax dollars going to companies that do business with terrorist regimes, I am more than willing to sue the governor and the state of Florida to force implementation of this law," Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., said after a phone call with the governor.

"I'm sure the governor has been misled by his staff and hope he will reconsider his position so that it does not result in a lawsuit."

But Scott said on Spanish-language radio stations that because the state law involves foreign trade, it must be authorized by Congress and the president.

"The way it works is, it's not operative until the federal government passes legislation," Scott told WQBA-AM, Miami.

"Right now, there's federal legislation that allows you not to do business with Sudan and Iran. But there's not federal legislation for Syria and Cuba yet. So President Obama needs to do it. It's the right thing to do. We need to continue to put pressure on Cuba and Syria. Both of them are repressive regimes."

Scott spokesman Brian Burgess said the governor based his decision on staffers' legal analysis.

"It's unfortunate people are taking out their frustrations on the governor," Burgess said. "The governor has done his part. He supports this legislation. He signed it. He stands with them."

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