Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially removes Disney’s self-governing status

Disney had the self-governing status for over 55 years (Picture: Getty Images)

Following weeks of political strife, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law on Friday that will officially strip Disney of its self-governing status.

After having the special rights for over 55 years, ’s district, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, will be dissolved on June 1, 2023.

The status gave Disney the ability to tax, build roads and control utilities on the lands of its parks, and essentially operate as its own municipal government.

‘They have the ability to build a nuclear power plant without state consent if they want,’ DeSantis said Friday. ‘No individual or no company in Florida is treated this way, and it’s not right to have this similar treatment but you know they had exercised a lot of power over the years.’

Removing Disney’s special status was first discussed publicly on Tuesday, and follows a very public feud between the governor and Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek. Chapek has spoken out in opposition of DeSantis’ recently passed Parental Rights in Education legislation, commonly called the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, angering the Republican governor.

The law prohibits primary school teachers from discussing gender and sexual-orientation related issues in classes up to third grade.

Chapek not only criticized the bill but paused donations to Florida politicians, adding further fuel to the fire.

‘Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that,’ Disney said in a statement after the bill’s passage.

DeSantis has asserted that the company is looking to ‘inject sexuality’ into its content and that he was not comfortable with ‘that type of agenda getting special treatment in my state.’

President Joe Biden joined Disney in taking aim at DeSantis this week, and said the Republican Party is ‘not even conservative in the traditional sense of conservatism.’

‘I mean it’s ugly. I mean, look at what’s happening now in Florida,’ Biden said. ‘Christ, they’re going after Mickey Mouse.’

Disney’s special district has been in effect since 1967, causing opposing lawmakers and critics to question the timing and speed of the change, which hadn’t been publicly discussed until this week.

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