‘Don’t Say Gay’ dispute moves forward with proposed new legislation


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida lawmakers will take action to increase private government state control of Walt Disney World, according to a notice released Friday, the latest development in a feud about a law critics have dubbed «Don’t Say Gay.»

He realize posted on Osceola County’s website says the Republican-controlled state chamber will adopt legislation changing the structure and powers of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as Disney’s 55-year-old government is known.

A bill detailing exactly what changes would be under consideration has yet to be introduced. The notice serves as a procedural step in what has become a closely watched process between Disney and Florida.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation last year that would dissolve Disney’s government in June 2023, a move aimed at punishing the company for its public opposition to a law that prohibits instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and lessons deemed not to be age appropriate.

In addition, Disney said it would suspend political donations in the state and would support organizations working to oppose the education law.

DeSantis and state House Republicans criticized Disney, saying the entertainment giant had become a purveyor of so-called awakening ideologies that are inappropriate for children.

The dispute marked a rare moment of contention between the state and Disney, one of Florida’s largest employers and a major political donor. It also provided another front in an ongoing culture war that has made DeSantis one of the most popular Republicans in the country.

The creation of the Reedy Creek District was instrumental in Disney’s decision to build near Orlando in the 1960s. Having a separate government allows the company to provide zoning, fire protection, utility and infrastructure services across its sprawling property.

The language of Friday’s notice aligns with assurances Republican lawmakers and DeSantis have made regarding the district’s future, including a promise that district debts and bond obligations would not fall on county local governments.

The notice also says the legislation would seek to increase the district’s state accountability, change the way its governing body is selected, and revise the district’s permit rules and regulatory frameworks, among other things.

“Disney will no longer control its own government, live under the same laws as everyone else, be responsible for its outstanding debts, and pay its fair share of taxes,” Taryn Fenske, a spokeswoman for DeSantis, said in a writing. declaration. “Imposing a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents.”

The Legislature will meet for its next regular session in March.

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