The Miami Herald

Florida appeals Miami federal judge ruling blocking law prohibiting hiring of companies tied to Cuba

The state of Florida on Tuesday appealed a Miami federal judge’s decision to block the implementation of a new state law prohibiting governments from hiring companies with business ties to Cuba.

Gov. Rick Scott announced the appeal in a statement Tuesday. Last month, U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore issued a temporary injunction against the law, which would ban state and local governments from awarding future contracts worth at least $1 million to companies whose parent or sister firms work in Cuba or Syria.

“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,” Scott said. “I firmly believe this law is right for Florida and will continue to defend it going forward.”

The law was challenged in court by Odebrecht USA, the Coral Gables-based affiliate of the giant Brazilian engineering and construction conglomerate. A subsidiary of Odebrecht USA’s parent company is performing major upgrades to the Cuban Port of Mariel.

Odebrecht USA sued the Florida Department of Transportation arguing it is not the state’s role to set foreign policy. Judge Moore agreed, citing precedent.

The law, originally scheduled to take effect July 1, was sponsored by Miami-Dade lawmakers and approved by a near-unanimous majority of the state Legislature.

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