Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor, announced Tuesday that he will be asking the state legislature for legislation to repeal special protections Disney has in Florida after the company opposed a controversial parental rights bill.
DeSantis announced that he was expanding the scope of the calls they will be considering during a press conference held at The Villages, Florida. “Yes, they will consider the congressional map. But they will also be looking at terminating all special districts in Florida that were established prior to 1968. This includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
DeSantis’ comment, which drew applause in the crowd, previously suggested that he supported repealing a 55 year-old state law that allows Disney, effectively, to govern itself on the grounds at Walt Disney World.
“What I would say is a matter-of-first principle is that I don’t believe in special privileges in the law just because a company has been able to wield lots of power,” DeSantis stated during a press conference last week.
He said, “I think there are a lot special privileges that have not been justified, but Disney had so much power, they were able o sustain a lot special treatment over time.”
DeSantis also issued an announcement outlining the reasons Disney’s special status should not be restored.
Governor. Claude Kirk was prompted by Disney’s lobbying efforts. The entertainment company proposed building a recreation-oriented community on 25,000 acres in remote Central Florida’s Orange or Osceola county. This area consisted of 38.5 miles of mostly uninhabited swamp and pasture land.
Orange and Osceola County didn’t have the resources or services needed to complete the project. So the state legislature collaborated with Disney to create the Reedy Creek Improvement District. This special taxing district allows the company the same authority and responsibility that a county government.
Disney is engaged in a verbal war with Florida Republicans over a bill signed by DeSantis. It prohibits classroom instruction about “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” for children under third grade.
Disney issued a statement shortly after the bill was signed. It also echoed media headlines by calling it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Disney stated that Florida’s HB1557 (also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law) should not have been passed and should not have been made into law. We as a company want this law to be struck down by the legislature. We also remain committed to supporting state and national organizations that work to accomplish this. We will continue to fight for the safety and rights of LGBTQ+ Disney family members and the LGBTQ+ community across Florida and the country.
The bill doesn’t ban the use of the term “gay” within schools, nor does it ban casual discussion about topics related to sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom.
Recent polling shows that Florida voters are supportive of the bill, with 52% of those likely to vote in the Democratic primary saying that they oppose the type of teaching the bill bans.
Florida State Rep. Spencer Roach previously tweeted that he had met with legislators in order to repeal the self-governing law as a response to Disney’s recent actions.
Roach tweeted, “Yesterday was our 2nd meeting in a row w/fellow lawmakers to discuss repealing the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act which allows Disney to operate as its own government.” “If Disney wishes to embrace woke ideology it seems appropriate that they should be controlled by Orange County.”