Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, signed a new bill on Monday, February 27th, that will see him appoint a five member board to take control over Walt Disney World’s self governing district in Florida.
Self Governance Status Revoked
“Today, the corporate kingdom finally comes to an end,” he said at a bill signing ceremony in Lake Buena Vista. “There’s a new sheriff in town, and accountability will be the order of the day.”
“Allowing a corporation to control its own government is bad policy, especially when the corporation makes decisions that impact an entire region,” said DeSantis. “This legislation ends Disney’s self-governing status, makes Disney live under the same laws as everybody else, and ensures that Disney pays its debts and fair share of taxes.
The bill will end Disney’s self-governance in Florida. It will also end the company’s exemption from the Florida Building and Fire Prevention Code. The district would now be subject to state regulatory reviews and approvals.
A five member board will be appointed by DeSantis and tasked with overseeing the government services in the district. This will include the provision of zoning, protection against fire, infrastructure, and utility services. The district’s name would change from Randy Creek Improvement District to Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
At the press conference announcing the signing of the bill, DeSantis also announced the board members he had picked. Martin Garcia, a Tampa attorney, will be the chairman of the new board. Brigdet Ziegler, who is the Florida Republican party chairman’s wife, will be a board member as well. Attorneys Brian Aungst Jr. and Mike Sasso will form part of the board. Ron Peri, the head of The Gathering USA Ministry, will be a member as well.
Disney was granted the right to self govern the district in 1967. The media and entertainment conglomerate intended on building a futuristic city with its own transportation system and building standards. However, the futuristic city never came to fruition. Instead, Disney built a second theme park that opened in 1982.
There is a strong indication that the bill revoking Disney’s self governance status was passed as retaliation for the company’s criticism of what has been labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The legislation bars the learning and education of sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through the third grade.
DeSantis and his fellow Republicans rallied against Disney’s supposed “woke” stance. The governor immediately set about “punishing” the company, revoking the self governance status. He called a special legislative session to ensure the self governing district was dissolved as quickly as possible and in his preferred terms.
Running for President
Ron DeSantis has built a solid political career that has set him on the path to running for the Presidency of the United States. While he has not announced his intentions yet, speculation suggests he is keen on running. DeSantis is not a stranger to controversy and decisions considered unpopular. He has been criticized for supporting the ban of books and African American courses in Florida.