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Challenge to Florida's Cuba travel law heads to court

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-10-09 08:00 PM
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Challenge to Florida's Cuba travel law heads to court
Source: Miami Herald

Posted on Friday, 04.10.09
Challenge to Florida's Cuba travel law heads to court

BY LAURA FIGUEROA
lfigueroa@MiamiHerald.com

A hearing is scheduled in Miami federal court Friday on a challenge to a 2008 Florida law that aims to increase regulation of travel agencies selling trips to Cuba.

The measure was approved by the Legislature last year but never took affect. U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold issued a temporary injunction in July, after 13 travel agencies specializing in trips to Cuba filed suit.

It is unclear whether Gold will rule Friday on a motion to strike down the law, which requires travel agencies to post up to a $250,000 bond and pay up to $2,500 in state registration fees. But the travel agents are hopeful that a recent report by the U.S. Justice Department calling Florida's law intrusive will help expedite Gold's decision.

''We're optimistic,'' said Armando Garcia, owner of Marazul Charter Travels. ``Hopefully, the courts will see what the state hasn't -- that we're an American-run business just like any other trade.''

The law was sponsored by state Rep. David Rivera, a Miami Republican. The 35-page Justice Department review said that Rivera's law interferes ``with the federal government's ability to speak for the United States with one voice in foreign affairs.''

Rivera brushed off the report, passing it off as the Obama administration being ``only interested in kissing up to the Castro regime rather than protecting Florida consumers from the abuses of these travel agencies.''




Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/legislature/story/99366...
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