April 1, 2022

DeSantis: Disney Doesn't Deserve Special Privileges in FL

  • Flyover Country

By: Konrad Holden

In Brief: 
During a press conference on Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he does not support Disney’s long-standing right under Florida law to effectively govern itself on the grounds of Walt Disney World in Orlando. Currently, Disney and DeSantis are locked in a public feud over a parental rights bill that DeSantis recently signed into law, which prohibits public classroom instruction about “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” Disney has come out in opposition to the bill and is “committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to” have the bill repealed or blocked by the courts.

The Background: 
In 1967, the Florida legislature passed the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which according to one Florida state representative “allows Disney to act as its own government.”

The bill gives the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which is effectively controlled by Walt Disney Co., the ability to maintain and operate its own roads and bridges, set up fire protection and emergency medical services, and a number of other services normally performed by municipal governments.

Some Florida state representatives have been meeting to discuss a repeal of the bill. On Thursday, Gov. DeSantis addressed the issue saying, “I think in this particular case with Disney, I just don’t think you have very many people in the legislature anymore who are going to be able to defend a lot of what has been done over many years to really have them almost govern themselves in some of these things. That was probably never appropriate to start, but is certainly not appropriate now at this point."

Disney has recently gone on the offensive against the parental rights bill Gov. DeSantis signed this week. The company said, "Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law."

DeSantis is on record saying the company “crossed the line” with their statements. 

Notable Quotes: 

"I think what has happened is there’s a lot of these special privileges that are not justifiable, but because Disney had held so much sway, they were able to sustain a lot of special treatment over the years." - Governor Ron DeSantis

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