THE PEOPLES, Florida. (CW44 News At 10 | CNN) – Disney appears in the sights of the Governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis as himself challenged lawmakers Tuesday to remove the special status that allows the entertainment company to operate as an independent government at its Orlando-area theme park.
In an explosive announcement released just hours before lawmakers returned to Tallahassee for a special session to finalize new congressional maps, DeSantis changed the week’s agenda to also include a review of the “special independent districts that were established.” before November 5, 1968″. That would include the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, passed by the Legislature in 1967 to help establish Walt Disney World.
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A bill introduced by a Republican lawmaker shortly after DeSantis’ announcement would dissolve the Disney special district on June 1, 2023.
DeSantis also wants lawmakers to remove an exception for Disney in a state law that allows people to sue big tech companies for censorship. A federal judge blocked the law, but Florida is appealing the ruling.
The move against Disney is the latest fallout from a controversial move that bars schools from teaching young children about sexual orientation or gender identity.
DeSantis, a Republican widely seen as a possible 2024 presidential contender, signed the bill into law in March over objections from Disney, Florida’s largest private employer. Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek announced that the company would stop making political donations in Florida after decades of contributing lavishly, primarily to Republicans, including DeSantis.
After DeSantis signed, Disney said in a statement that their “goal” was to repeal the law or see it defeated in court.
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DeSantis said Disney “crossed the line” with that statement and suggested in late March that the company’s “special privileges” could be lifted. A Republican state representative said a group of Republican lawmakers would meet to discuss repeal of the Reedy Creek Improvement Act.
The Reedy Creek Improvement District covers Disney properties near Orlando, allowing the theme park to manage land within its foundries and provide its own public services such as fire and police services.
DeSantis announced his move against Disney Tuesday to a crowd of supporters at The Villages, a sprawling retirement metropolis built by Republican developers in Central Florida that also benefits from a special district.
“Today I am announcing that we are expanding the call for what they are going to consider this week,” DeSantis said. “So, yes, they will consider their congressional map, but they will also consider terminating all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968 and that includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District.”
Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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the CNN wire
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