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Rick Scott, Republican pols proudly tout Syria-Cuba election-year law that won’t go into effect right now

In the historic Freedom Tower as the television cameras rolled, the political power structure of Miami’s Cuban-American community hailed Gov. Rick Scott as a he signed a new law designed to prevent Florida taxpayers from indirectly subsidizing the regimes in Cuba and Syria.

“Freedom matters,” Scott declared repeatedly before and after he signed the bill. “It’s the right thing to do.”

What he didn’t mention: The bill does nothing at the moment.

Here’s why: Congress has not expressly authorized states like Florida from restricting foreign commerce with Cuba and Syria. Therefore, technically, the law passed this election year conflicts with federal law.

“Because such a conflict may exist, the restrictions will not go into effect unless and until Congress passes, and President Obama signs, a law permitting states to independently impose such sanctions against Cuba and Syria,” Scott said in his signing letter, released after he left the Freedom Tower. “I, therefore, call upon Presient Obama to introduce federal legislation that will permit Florida to go above and beyond the pervasive and overly permissive federal regulations. The Cuban and Syrian regimes are no better than the Iranian and Sudanese regimes, and the federal government should permit the states to impose the same sanctions on each of these dictatorships.”

There was no mention of this conflict during the hour-long event where Republican politician after Republican politician spoke in favor of it. A number of them are seeking election.

State Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who emceed the event, is running for Miami-Dade property appraiser. He said he was unaware that Scott would say the law wouldn't be enforced. Congressman David Rivera is up for re-election. And Congressman Connie Mack is running for U.S. Senate. Each spoke. None mentioned this potential glitch because, it seems at the moment, none knew that Scott would do this.

Download 5.1.12 HB 959 Transmittal Letter