The Florida Senate approved a bill last Wednesday(4/27/22) dissolving the special taxation district that allows the Walt Disney Company to self-govern its theme park area. Republican-controlled members of the House of Representatives voted 23-16 in favor of the bill. Before it can be sent to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk, it must now be approved by the state House. During the special session this week, DeSantis urged the Legislature to support the law.
On June 1st, 2023, Disney’s special area will be dismantled by the statute. Disney is able to self-govern through the collection of taxes and the provision of emergency services thanks to the special status provided by a state law in 1967. This area in Orlando is under Disney’s jurisdiction and as such, the district doesn’t need the business to seek local planning commission approval before building new structures or paying impact fees. Reedy Creek Improvement District is the name given to Disney’s area of Orlando that was targeted by DeSantis for its criticism of legislation he recently passed that will prohibit classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade.
Last week, DeSantis signaled that he would like to remove Disney’s legal safeguards, saying he doesn’t favor special legal rights for wealthy corporations. Separately, the Senate voted on Wednesday(4/20/22) by a margin of 24-15 to remove Disney’s exemption from a 2021 rule on big tech censorship. This measure was also approved.