Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis dropped a bombshell on a Tuesday press briefing when he announced the legislature will consider ending Disney’s special status that’s been in place for over half a century.
As legislators converge on Tallahassee for a special session over congressional maps, DeSantis says they will also review “independent special districts” established before Nov. 1968. The act that helped establish Walt Disney World passed in 1967.
This marks an escalation in the war between the governor’s office and the iconic family entertainment giant over DeSantis’ Parental Rights in Education Bill, castigated as “Don’t Say Gay’ by critics. The law does not prohibit casual discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms, but it expressly prohibits the teaching of the concepts from kindergarten through third grade.
The Reedy Creek Improvement Act became law in 1967 after lobbying efforts by Disney to build a giant theme park on 25,000 acres of largely uninhabited swampland and fields. The legislature allowed Disney to act as its own county government to bring the idea to reality, and that status continues today.
However, the company waded into politics with its belated opposition to the education bill, siding with media critics in labeling it “Don’t Say Gay.” Disney said its goal is to see the law repealed or struck down, and it will support national and state organizations working to make that happen.
Gov. DeSantis said Florida law allows the entertainment company to regulate their water, electrical, and emergency services, and there are shocking provisions in the decades-old agreement. He revealed that they can build a nuclear power plant, something no other private company in Florida can do. The park is also exempt from nearly all state regulations, with the exception of property taxes and elevator inspections.
The governor says the company has “alienated a lot of people” and “crossed the line” with its woke policies.
Disney’s business is family entertainment, and that’s where it starts and ends. Special privileges were not granted to the theme park so it could use those privileges to strike down state law. The state of Florida’s business is governing in a way that allows for freedoms while protecting the most vulnerable. Such as those from kindergarten through third grade.