Florida House Passes Bill To End Disney's Self-Governing Status

By Bill Galluccio

April 21, 2022

Walt Disney World
Photo: Getty Images

The Florida House of Representatives passed a law eliminating Walt Disney World's special status allowing it to act as a government entity within 27,000 acres of land in Central Florida.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who called a special session of the legislature to debate the measure, signed the bill into law on Friday (April 22).

DeSantis and Florida Republicans have been battling Disney after the company came out in protest of a recently passed law that bans schools from teaching students in third grade or lower about "sexual orientation" and "gender identity."

After Disney announced it was halting political donations and was partnering with organizations to oppose the law, Republicans in the state fought back by eliminating what is known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The 27,000-acre district, which is run by senior Disney employees, is tasked with providing water, sewer, electric power, and public safety throughout the area, which includes Disney World.

Because Disney acts as its own government, it does not need to seek approval from state or local officials when building new construction projects. That allowed it to build multiple theme parks in the area.

DeSantis blasted Disney, which is the largest employer in the state, for opposing the law.

"Disney and other woke corporations won't get away with peddling their unchecked pressure campaigns any longer," DeSantis said. "If we want to keep the Democrat machine and their corporate lapdogs accountable, we have to stand together now."

The Reedy Creek Improvement District will be dissolved on June 1, 2023. The bill does allow the district to be reinstated, so it is possible lawmakers could reach a new agreement with Disney to restore its self-governing status.

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