Upping his war with the Walt Disney Co., Gov. Ron DeSantis said he is expanding the special session of the Legislature that started Tuesday to consider eliminating the Reedy Creek Improvement District that governs much of Walt Disney World.
He also said he would seek to eliminate the special carve out Disney received from the Legislature for the so-called Big Tech law that would allow people to sue social media companies such as Facebook or Twitter if they are censored. That law has been blocked by a federal judge.
“I am announcing today that we are expanding the call of what they are going to be considering this week,” DeSantis said in The Villages. “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. ”
DeSantis thanked House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson for “stepping up and making sure we make the sunset or the termination on those special districts happen, which I think is very important.”
DeSantis’ announcement is a major escalation of his feud with Disney over the so-called “do not say gay” bill, which Disney CEO Bob Chapek opposed after it was passed by the Legislature last month.
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Chapek said the company was pausing its political contributions in the state and would work to oppose similar bills in other states.
DeSantis had previously only said he was “receptive” to changing the district, created by a 1967 state law that allowed Walt Disney World to establish its own independent government that gives Disney control over building roads, zoning code, build a power plant and even its own airport.
DeSantis originally called the special session, which is scheduled to run through Friday if necessary, for the Legislature to review and approve a congressional map he submitted that eliminates a predominantly black Congressional District in North Florida, and creates four new Republican-friendly districts.
His proclamation calling for the expanded session calls for reviewing special districts created for private corporations prior to a 1968 constitutional amendment that prohibits special laws granting privileges to private corporations. The amendment “disfavors special laws as opposed to general laws, but permits the creation of independent special districts …” the proclamation says.
DeSantis wants the Legislature to review all special improvement districts created for private corporations before 1968 to be reviewed to see if they serve a public interest and meet the requirements of the 1968 constitutional amendment.
That does not include the 17 districts that make up The Villages, the Republican-dominated retirement community where he made his announcement Tuesday.
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