State government agencies will be barred from investing in companies doing business with the government of Venezuela, under a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Rick Scott. The law, which becomes effective July 1, is intended to put pressure on the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Scott said in a prepared statement that the signing demonstrates Florida’s “commitment to the people of Venezuela who are fighting for freedom and democracy.”
The bill (HB 359), which Scott signed at the restaurant El Arepazo 2 in Doral, expands an action by the governor, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis last August that prohibited the State Board of Administration from such investments. The board oversees the Florida Retirement System. Sen. Rene Garcia, a Hialeah Republican who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, said in a prepared statement the measure “shows that Florida continues to stand strong against the brutal Maduro regime and any business that supports their oppressive leadership.” The bill was approved without any opposition in the Legislature.
It prohibits state agencies from investing in companies that extend credit, trade or buy goods or services with the Venezuelan government. The measure allows the governor to unilaterally lift the ban “if the existing regime in Venezuela collapses and there is a need for immediate aid to Venezuela.”
(News Service of Florida)