On Tuesday, GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis requested that the state’s legislature look into repealing a law that allows Walt Disney World to operate its own private government over its properties within the state.
DeSantis’ request is the latest move in a series of disagreements between the governor and Disney over what critics have termed the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
DeSantis, who has gained substantial popularity among Republicans as governor and has sparked interest as a possible 2024 presidential nominee, has been battling with Disney over the company’s public opposition to the newly passed Parental Rights in Education law.
The governor upped the stakes on Tuesday when he made the request of the Legislature. Lawmakers were returning to the Capitol to go through a special legislative session on congressional redistricting when the governor issued a proclamation that grants the GOP-controlled state house to make bills gutting Disney’s self-governing authority. Republicans hastily filed proposals to go through with the idea.
“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 the 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,” DeSantis announced during a news conference. He referenced the company’s governing district without specifically calling Disney out by name.
The Reedy Creek Improvement District is the name of the private government controlled by Disney World, which was set up by the state Legislature in 1967. It allows Disney to provide its own government services like zoning, fire protection, utilities, and other infrastructure.
By creating the district, Disney was given control over 27,000 acres in the state of Florida, and it was a key element in the company’s plans to construct the popular parks near Orlando in the 1960s.