DeSantis: Lawmakers Are Considering Bill to Strip Disney of Self-Governing District

By Lydia Nusbaum, Florida's Voice

April 19, 2022 Updated 1:14 PM ET

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April 19, 2022 Updated 10:20 A.M. ET

TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – Governor Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that Florida lawmakers will officially consider dismantling the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which allows Disney to govern itself. 

Florida lawmakers already will meet for a special session this week to deal with redistricting. DeSantis said Tuesday lawmakers will now consider stripping Disney of its “special privileges” to self-govern.

“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 said during the press conference. 

The 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act allows Disney to govern itself in Walt Disney World on things like building codes, zoning, and electricity. 

Republican State Representative Randy Fine filed a two page bill that would terminate Disney’s Reedy Creek improvement District. 

“Disney is a guest in Florida. Today, we remind them.  @GovDeSantis just expanded the Special Session so I could file HB3C which eliminates Reedy Creek Improvement District, a 50 yr-old special statute that makes Disney to exempt from laws faced by regular Floridians,” Fine said on Twitter

Republican lawmakers began discussions to repeal the improvement district after Disney came out against the Parental Rights in Education Act falsely named the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by left-wing propagandists. 

DeSantis and other Republicans were staunch supporters of the new act that bans teachers from teacher children as young as 5 about sexual orientation. Disney came out against the legislation and vowed to have it “repealed.”

On principle, DeSantis said in early April that, “I don’t think we should have special privileges in the law at all.”

“I would not say that that’d be retaliatory. I mean, the way I view it is, you know, there are certain entities that have exerted a lot of influence through corporate means to generate special privileges in the law,” he explained in April.

Representative Spencer Roach said lawmakers began meeting in March to discuss repealing the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act.

“If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County,” Roach said. 

According to the Reedy Creek Improvement District’s website, at the time of the resort’s initial founding and construction in the 1960s and early 1970s, Orange and Osceola County did not have “the services or the resources to bring the project to life.”

Under the 1967 Act, Reedy Creek is effectively its own “county government.” Local taxpayers do not pay for services in the District.

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