DeSantis expands special session to consider ending Disney's self-governing status

Florida Legislature asked to terminate Reedy Creek Improvement District
DeSantis and Disney
Posted at 11:47 AM, Apr 19, 2022

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued a proclamation calling for the special session to be expanded.

The expansion would be for the Florida Legislature to consider terminating all special districts enacted in Florida prior to 1968, including Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District.

The original purpose of the special session, which started at noon on Tuesday, is to redraw the state's congressional maps after DeSantis vetoed the maps passed by the Legislature during its regular session.

The last-minute addition comes after weeks of tension between DeSantis and the Walt Disney Co. over the passage of the controversial Parental Rights in Education law, known by critics as the "Don't Say Gay" law.

In response to the law, Disney suspended its political donations in the state after LGBTQ advocates who work for the company criticized CEO Bob Chapek for what they said was his slow response speaking out against it.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District gives Disney the right to govern itself like a city.

Before Disney World opened its gates, Walt Disney proposed to state lawmakers the theme park should have governing authority over the land. Months after his death, the state granted the company the establishment of the Reedy Creek Improvement District in 1967.

If it's repealed, Disney's central Florida land would fall under Orange and Osceola counties, since it stretches into both.

State Rep. Randy Fine, R-Brevard County, seemed to support the proposal Tuesday on Twitter.

"Disney is a guest in Florida," he said in a tweet. "Today, we remind them."