Florida Senate passes bill that would end Disney’s self-governing status
The Florida Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would eliminate Walt Disney World’s self-government status in response to the company’s opposition to a new state law limiting discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools. The Republican-led Senate voted 23 to 16 to scrap a special tax district that allowed Walt Disney Co to self-govern the Orlando area where its theme park resort has been located since the late 1990s. 1960.
The bill still needs House approval before heading to Governor Ron DeSantis’ office. In a surprise move, DeSantis asked lawmakers to review the legislation in a special session he called this week. The law seeks to eliminate special tax districts, including Orlando’s Reedy Creek Improvement District. This structure makes Disney, which is one of the largest private employers in the state, and other landowners responsible for providing services such as firefighting, power, water and roads. . They in turn benefit from tax and fee relief.
The governor, a Republican who is a potential candidate for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024, wants to hit back at Disney for his opposition to a law that bans classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity for students under the age of about 9. DeSantis signed the legislation last month. Disney has come under fire for initially failing to take a public stand against the measure, which opponents say will harm the lesbian, gay, transgender and queer community.
Last month, the company condemned the legislation, saying it would suspend all political donations in Florida. Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. The change would come into effect in June 2023.
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