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Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) upped the ante in his faceoff with Disney and announced at a speech in The Villages Tuesday that he will expand the special session of the legislature, targeting the Reedy Creek Improvement District that governs much of Walt Disney World.
Taking things even further, DeSantis is seeking to do away with a special carve-out that Disney received from the legislature for the so-called Big Tech law that allows individuals to sue social media companies if they are censored. That law has currently been blocked by a federal judge, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“I am announcing today that we are expanding the call of what they are going to be considering this week,” DeSantis declared as the crowd applauded. “And so yes, they will be considering their congressional map. But 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.”
The governor also took a moment to express his thanks to House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson for “stepping up and making sure that we make the sunset or the termination on those special districts happen, which I think is very important.”
In addition to congressional reapportionment, this week's special session will include termination of legacy special districts and removal of exemptions from the big tech accountability law. pic.twitter.com/67sF4E113I
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 19, 2022
The announcement by DeSantis is yet another domino to fall in the battle with Disney over the “Parental Rights in Education” bill that the left has misnomered as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek has proclaimed that the company, which stood steadfastly against the bill that prohibits the teaching of adult-specific topics such as gender-fluidity and transgenderism in kindergarten through third grade, will oppose the legislation that is now being passed in other states. He’s also stopped political contributions from Disney to conservative politicians over the issue.
“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,” Disney had asserted. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”
DeSantis stated earlier that he was “receptive” to changing the status of the district which was created by a 1967 state law that allowed Walt Disney World to establish its own independent government to control building roads, handle policing, manage zoning codes, oversee the building of a power plant, and even setting up its own airport.
DeSantis is one of the only Republicans in history who knows how to play offense. https://t.co/phHZP8LmG7
— Catturd ™ (@catturd2) April 19, 2022
The governor called the special session which is slated to run through Friday if need be. The body will review and approve a congressional map that was submitted by DeSantis, eliminating a congressional district in North Florida and creating four new ones.
DeSantis is calling on the legislature to review all special improvement districts created for private corporations before 1968 in order to determine if they serve the public interest and meet the requirements of the 1968 constitutional amendment. The amendment prohibits special laws granting privileges to private corporations.
“What I would say as a matter of first principle is I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power,” DeSantis said during a press conference last month, according to Fox News.
“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,” he noted at the time.
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