Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called Tuesday for lawmakers to consider repealing Disney’s special districts after Disney’s CEO spoke out against a new law critics dub the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Desantis issued a proclamation calling for a special legislative session from Tuesday through Friday to consider terminating Disney’s self-governing authority over its special districts established in 1967.
Months after Walt Disney’s death in December 1966, the governor and state lawmakers granted Disney, under the direction of Walt Disney’s brother Roy Disney, the establishment of the Reedy Creek Improvement District to govern property that would eventually become Disney World.
The Florida governor announced during a news conference in the morning in The Villages that state lawmakers will consider repealing all special districts, including Disney’s Reed Creek Improvement District, which now spans two counties and 25,000 acres.
The move follows Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek publicly opposing the Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law that critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law nearly a week after hundreds of people protested his silence on the bill early last month.
By the time Chapek spoke out, the bill had already been approved by both the state House and Senate and sent to DeSantis’ desk.
DeSantis signed the bill into law late last month, which aims to ban “discussion” and “instruction” related to gender and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, according to the bill’s text, including its introduction, and is set to take effect on July 1.
State Republican lawmaker Spencer Roach also called for a repeal of the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which gave Disney its self-governing power over the district, in a tweet after Chapek’s criticism of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill.
“If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County,” Roach tweeted.
Along with considering the repeal of Disney’s special district, the governor called on lawmakers to review an exemption the company received from a now-blocked law targeting alleged censorship by social media platforms in the proclamation issued Tuesday.
DeSantis had signed the law last year, which he called “Florida’s Big Tech Bill,” after former President Donald Trump was banned from most major social media platforms following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
After DeSantis signed the “Big Tech” bill into law in May of last year, a federal judge blocked it from being enforced, calling the exemption for Disney a “major constitutional issue.”
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