The Florida Senate approved Wednesday’s bill to remove the special self-governing status Disney received over 50 years ago. This is after Disney publicly fought Republicans over controversial parental rights legislation.
The bill was passed by the Republican-controlled chamber, 23-16. It would end the Disney special status, which allows it to manage large properties in Orlando.
The Reedy Creek Improvement Act was named for the special status, and it was signed into law in January by Gov. Disney’s lobbying efforts prompted Claude Kirk to take action. The entertainment company suggested building a community oriented towards recreation on 25,000 acres in Central Florida’s Orange and Osceola counties. The area was comprised of 38.5 miles mostly uninhabited swampland, pasture, and other natural resources.
Orange County and Osceola County did not have the necessary resources and services to complete the project. The state legislature teamed up with Disney to create Reedy Creek Improvement District. This taxing special district gives the company the same authority as a county government.
After the resignation of Florida’s Republican governor, the bill was passed. Ron DeSantis asked the legislature to approve the measure.
Disney made a harsh critique of the bill after it was signed. It was called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by Disney. The legislation does not include the term gay or prohibit the use of it in schools.
Disney stated that Florida’s HB1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law, should not be passed and should not been made into law. As a company, we want the legislature to repeal this law. We will continue to support state and national organizations working to achieve this. We will continue to fight on behalf of the safety and rights for LGBTQ+ Disney family members, and the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.
DeSantis remains committed to the bill’s support, as indicated by recent polling, even among likely Democratic voters.
DeSantis said earlier this month that there were policy disputes, and that that’s fine. However, imposing an ideology on the state is a grave threat.
Christina Pushaw (DeSantis Press Secretary) stated that the state shouldn’t pass legislation “allowing all companies to do business on a more even playing field.”
The controversial parental rights bill was sponsored by Joe Harding, a Republican Florida State Representative. Fox News reported that he supported the bill in Congress. He was also surprised that Disney CEO Bob Chapek is still employed by the company.
Harding stated that Disney had provided “the best example you could of how to manage crisis management.” It’s absurd that their CEO isn’t fired. Florida is still leading. Large corporations must be held accountable.”