Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a bill that takes control of a special tax district surrounding Walt Disney World that for half a century allowed Walt Disney Co. to operate with a high degree of autonomy.
“The corporate kingdom finally comes to an end,” DeSantis said during a press event at Lake Buena Vista near Orlando.
State Republicans last year targeted Disney after it publicly clashed with DeSantis, who is widely considered to be running for president in 2024, over a law that restricts classroom instruction of gender and sexual orientation, known by its opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” measure.
The Orlando Sentinel reports:
The law, effective immediately, gives the governor the power to appoint all five members of the governing board of the district. Members would face Senate confirmation.
The governor also announced his choices for the board: Bridget Ziegler, a member of the Sarasota County School Board and a supporter of Moms for Liberty; Seminole County attorney Michael Sasso; attorney Martin Garcia of Tampa as chairman; Ron Peri, CEO of The Gathering USA, a ministry that focuses on faith and culture; and Clearwater attorney Brian Aungst.
Last year, the governor pushed Florida lawmakers to abolish Reedy Creek effective June 1 of this year, but they left the option of keeping it with changes, which is what lawmakers ultimately did in a special session this month. Dissolving the district could have saddled Orange and Osceola counties with Reedy Creek’s $1 billion in debt.
#BREAKING: Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill to end self-governing status for Disney World, takes control of special district: “Look at your watch and you’ll know at what time the Corporate Kingdom finally came to an end.” https://t.co/KbqfmrjIKd pic.twitter.com/ob9IenvILM
— Forbes (@Forbes) February 27, 2023
DeSantis appoints new board members to control the Disney World district: A Moms for Liberty affiliate who helped draft the Don’t Say Gay bill, and a pastor who has a problem with LGBTQ programs and Planned Parenthood (https://t.co/afAYI2MVfc, https://t.co/HwTVP1HMNY) pic.twitter.com/wiCBCzD5K4
— 🧜♀️ Zinnia Jones 🤝 Judgment Snake 🐍 (@ZJemptv) February 27, 2023