Special Session Report-Disney Legislation Sails Through First Committee With Only Three Opposed
If you’ve been asleep since last Spring, like a princess in a fairytale, you may not know what’s going on with Disney in Florida. Disney, a self-governing district called Reedy Creek, has been able to do everything from inspections with no state oversight to regulating their fire department to the ability to build a nuclear power plant. They could even go outside their district and eminent domain the properties of others in other cities or counties, anywhere in Florida.
The decisions of this district have been in the hands of a five-person board appointed by the Disney corporation. Fast forward, and Disney made the mistake of going against Governor DeSantis and speaking out about the Parental Rights bill that had just passed into law. The parental rights law seeks to put meaningful discussions about sex and gender identity in the hands of parents instead of school administrators. Opponents refer to this common-sense legislation as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and believe it harms the LGBT community. Disney, in a moment of woke insanity, were vocally opposed, which they ended up dearly paying for.
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Governor DeSantis, otherwise known as Prince Charming, woke up Disney with a big kiss, holding a special session that took away the right for Reedy Creek to self-govern. The district would no longer exist starting July of 2023. Now, a special session is in effect that will allow Disney to keep their special taxing district with some significant changes. The district will have a new name, The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, and a board will be hand-picked by Governor DeSantis, with congruent confirmation by the Senate. Disney will no longer be able to choose a board to do their bidding.
Six of the State Affairs Committee members who were present were Democrats. Three of the six voted in favor of this new legislation. Democrat State Representative Joe Caselllo had this to say about why he voted in favor;
Although I believe there are some good components of the bill, I found it troubling that the governor would be the sole appointing authority, basically exchanging one unelected board for another. Secondly, if this bill fails to pass, the residents of Reedy Creek would’ve been libel for a two billion dollar tax assessment. But ultimately, the Reedy Creek firefighters supported the bill. I hold public safety near and dear to my heart. My vote reflects that loyalty, -Representative Joe Casello
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The new legislation does one main thing that is sure to add controls to their operations. The board will now be appointed by Governor DeSantis, ensuring oversight. Progressive Democrat Representative Ana Eskamani described this as a government power grab. She tried to pass an amendment to have some liberal Democrats appointed to these positions, but it failed. The time allotted to this committee meeting was four hours in anticipation of a contentious battle. It ended in an hour with seventeen yes votes and three no votes.
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