Florida GOP Lawmakers Discuss Repealing Disney’s Self-Governing Rights

Florida GOP Lawmakers Discuss Repealing Disney's Self-Governing Rights Spencer Roach speaks into a microphone State Rep. Spencer Roach (Steve Cannon/AP)

By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 31 March 2022 07:58 AM

Florida Republican lawmakers have met to discuss the repeal of Disney World's self-governing arrangement following the company's criticism of the state's new Parental Rights in Education law.

Disney World was given control over operations such as law enforcement and fire protection in an arrangement that was created to attract the theme park to the state in 1967.

"Yesterday was the 2nd meeting in a week w/fellow legislators to discuss a repeal of the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which allows Disney to act as its own government," State Rep. Spencer Roach, R, tweeted Wednesday morning. "If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County."

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., on Monday signed a bill that forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

The Parental Rights in Education bill has drawn intense national scrutiny from critics who claim it marginalizes LGBTQ people.

Supporters say the law, which goes into effect July 1, seeks to shield young children from inappropriate subject matter.

The Walt Disney Company quickly condemned Florida's new law and vowed to fight it.

DeSantis responded Tuesday by saying Walt Disney Company "crossed a line" by announcing its intent to repeal the law.

"For them to say they're going to actively work to repeal substantive protections for parents, as a company that is supposedly marketing its services to parents with young children, I think they crossed the line," DeSantis told reporters.

"This state is governed by the interest of the people of the state of Florida. It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives. They do not run this state; they do not control this state."

Also on Tuesday, City Journal magazine's Christopher Rufo tweeted that he had obtained video from inside Disney's meeting about the new Florida law, during which Executive Producer Latoya Raveneau claims to be regularly "adding queerness" to the company's children's programming.

State Rep. Joe Harding, R, sponsored the bill. He said he was returning $3,000 in campaign contributions from Disney in light of their position.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), which created two municipal-like governments, regulates the Lake Buena Vista land where the Walt Disney World Resort operates. It operates its own fire protection, security services, utilities and planning, Florida Politics reported.

The RCID Board of Supervisors is selected by landowners, effectively meaning Disney installs the government regulating the 38.5-square-mile property in Orlando, Florida.

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