On Monday (February 27), Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) ended Walt Disney’s self-governing status by signing a bill introducing a new state-controlled district. This move gives the Governor more control over the theme park and surrounding acreage.
In a statement explaining his decision, DeSantis claimed it is “bad policy” to allow a “corporation to control its government,” especially if those decisions “impact an entire region.”
DeSantis added that the legislation would end “Disney’s self-governing status,” guaranteeing Disney would be “under the same laws as everybody else” and pay “its debts and fair share of taxes.”
The legislation DeSantis signed ends Disney’s control of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the roughly 25,000 acres that Disney controlled for decades
DeSantis’s decision to greenlight the bill comes after Disney pushed back on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, limiting instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in primary schools.
Following Disney’s decision to push back on the law, DeSantis began pushing back on Disney, describing it as the “unaccountable Corporate Kingdom.”
Under the new law, DeSantis would be allowed to appoint a five-member board, subject to the state Senate’s approval. The board would govern the Reedy Creek Improvement District in Disney’s Stead.
The move also comes as rumors have circulated that DeSantis is preparing to launch a Presidential campaign. If he decides to run in 2024, DeSantis will join former President Donald Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley as major players in Republican’s primary race.