The Florida legislature passed legislation this week that will end the Walt Disney Company’s special “self-governing status” in Orlando, a policy that gave the corporation sweeping control over its theme parks and other properties.
From NBC News:
The Florida House passed a bill Thursday to eliminate the special district that allows the Walt Disney Co. to self-govern in its Orlando-area theme park, sending the measure to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature.
DeSantis, a Republican, called on the Legislature to back the measure during its special session this week. House lawmakers passed the bill in a 68-38 vote following the Senate’s 23-16 vote for the measure Wednesday.
The legislation would dismantle Disney’s special district on June 1, 2023. The district, which was created by a 1967 state law, allows Disney to self-govern by collecting taxes and providing emergency services. Disney controls about 25,000 acres in the Orlando area, and the district allows the company to build new structures and pay impact fees for such construction without the approval of a local planning commission.
The effort to eliminate Disney’s district, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, comes after DeSantis began targeting the corporation over its leaders’ criticism of legislation he recently signed that would prevent classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through the third grade.