May 24, 2022

Both houses of FL legislature vote to strip Disney of self-governing status

Amid growing outrage over Disney’s stance on the state’s new parental rights bill, the GOP-led Florida Senate on Wednesday passed a bill eliminating a special, self-governing status granted to the company more than five decades ago, as Fox News reports.

The upper legislative chamber approved the measure by a 23-16 margin, setting the stage for it to move to the Florida House, with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis urging members to support the bill in the special session being held this week, as NBC News noted.

At issue was Disney’s special status, referred to as the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which came into existence back in 1967 when the company unveiled plans to build a massive development on 25,000 acres in what was then largely undeveloped land in Orange and Osceola counties.

Because those counties lacked the infrastructure or resources needed to facilitate the project, the Florida legislature helped Disney by creating a special taxing district permitting the company to essentially function with similar powers to those held by a county government.

The bill passed by the state Senate, however, would bring an end to that status on June 1, 2023, curtailing Disney’s ability to add new structures or pay construction impact fees without local planning commission approval, according to NBC News.

Explaining the rationale behind his stance on Disney’s status last month, after Disney came out in opposition to the state’s parental rights law mischaracterized by the left as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, DeSantis stated, “What I would say as a matter of first principle is I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power.”

DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw underscored the governor’s position by contending that it is in no way “retaliatory” for Florida to approve a law that “allows all corporations to do business on a more even playing field,” adding, “[i]t was unfortunate that Disney decided to wade into a political debate and attempt to overturn a common-sense law, enacted by a duly enacted legislature and signed by a duly elected governor, with the support of the vast majority of Floridians.”

As Fox News reported separately on Thursday, just one day after the Senate approved the end of Disney’s special status in Florida, the state House did the same, and the bill will now make its way to DeSantis’ desk for his signature.

By bowing to the most radical voices in its corporate structure and boasting of its aggressive agenda to push LGBTQ+ indoctrination on the young, Disney gambled big and lost big, and as DeSantis explained, “[t]his wokeness will destroy this country if we let it run unabated. So in Florida, we take a very big stand against that.”

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