Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that the agenda of the upcoming special Florida Legislature session will include potentially eliminating Reedy Creek Improvement Act that governs Walt Disney World.
At an appearance in The Villages, DeSantis said, “I am announcing today that we are expanding the call of what they are going to be considering this week, and so yes, they will be considering their congressional map, but they also will be considering termination of all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968, and that includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District.”
The district was created by the Florida Legislature in 1967. Essentially a Disney-controlled governmental district covering its Disney World property, it is responsible for the cost of municipal services such as power, water, roads, sanitation, and fire protection for the resort. It also allows Disney to issue bonds and avoid separate government approval when it wants to build new structures.
The move is a significant escalation of rhetoric between DeSantis and Disney over the Walt Disney Company’s opposition to the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The law forbids “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in public schools from kindergarten through third grade “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” Opponents say its vague language is meant to silence any mention of the LGBTQ+ community in schools and may lead to teachers fearing legal repercussions for answering a child’s questions on same-sex marriage or AIDS in their classrooms.
After initially refusing to publicly condemn the law while it was being considered, Disney CEO Bob Chapek backtracked and the company paused all political donations in the state. Once the campaign funding dried up, Florida Republicans began publicly floating the idea of repealing the 1967 law that created the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Yesterday was the 2nd meeting in a week w/fellow legislators to discuss a repeal of the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which allows Disney to act as its own government. If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County. <a href=”https://t.co/6sj29Gj6Wz”>pic.twitter.com/6sj29Gj6Wz</a></p>— SpencerRoach (@SpencerRoachFL) <a href=”https://twitter.com/SpencerRoachFL/status/1509119958369902595?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>March 30, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Conservative activists have also targeted Disney. Small protests outside Disneyland and Disney World last week featured signs comparing Disney to “groomers” and pedophiles over the company’s stance opposing the “Don’t Say Gay” law.