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DeSantis Signs Bill That Will Strip Disney of its Self-Rule Status

'You’re a corporation based in Burbank, California, and you’re gonna marshal your economic might to attack the parents of my state...'

(The Center Square) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a measure that will strip Walt Disney Company of its self-governing status in the state.

The Florida House passed the legislation, 70-38, on Thursday, after the state Senate approved it, 23-16, on Wednesday. The votes were largely along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed.

DeSantis called a special session this week specifically to dissolve Disney’s special governing district and five others like it after the company publicly opposed and called for the repeal of the Parental Rights in Education law, which bans Florida schools and teachers from discussing “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” with students in kindergarten through third grade classes.

Numerous media outlets and opponents of the Parental Rights in Education law claim it’s “anti-gay,” or uses the phrase, “Don’t say gay,” arguing it’s anti-LGBTQ. A review of the seven-page bill by The Center Square revealed no such language exists, including no mention of the word “gay.”

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“You’re a corporation based in Burbank, California, and you’re gonna marshal your economic might to attack the parents of my state,” DeSantis said Friday of Disney, according to Fox News. “We view that as a provocation, and we’re going to fight back against that.”

The 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act established the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which created an independent governing entity controlled by the Walt Disney Company. The law gave Disney control over police and fire services,  electricity, water, construction zoning and more on about 25,000 acres in Orange and Osceola counties.

Reedy Creek and the five others affected by the new law have until June 1, 2023, to apply for their special status to be reinstated before it goes into effect.

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