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, reports the News Service of Florida.
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.