[JURIST] Florida House of Representatives [official website] Speaker Marco Rubio [official website] announced on Monday that the House will join the state of Florida in defending a challenge to a law [CS/CS/SB 1310 materials] requiring travel agencies booking flights to Cuba to post a bond ten times greater than that of other agencies. Proponents of the law state that it is in keeping with the longstanding US embargo on Cuba [PDF, Cuban Democracy Act]. Florida's governor approved the law in June, but in July a federal judge temporarily enjoined enforcement [AP report] of the law until the court can rule on its constitutionality in September. The plaintiffs, a group of 16 travel agents selling trips to Cuba, allege that Florida's actions are pre-empted by federal law, and that the state is improperly attempting to engage in foreign policy. CBS4 has local coverage.
In 2004, the White House tightened travel restrictions [press release; JURIST report] on travelers to Cuba. Invoking Cuba's status as what it called a "state sponsor of terrorism" and its past use of force against Americans and its own citizens, the administration authorized the US Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to prevent the departure of ships headed for Cuba, and to stop, inspect and even seize US ships en route to the island.