Florida Senate Passes Bill That Would Strip Disney of Special Self-Government Status | American News

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The Florida Senate has passed a bill that would dissolve the special tax district that allows the Walt Disney Co to self-govern in its theme park area.

The Republican-led Senate voted 23 to 16 in support of the measure.

The bill comes amid a row with the giant over its opposition to a controversial new state law that limits discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools.

by Disney special status, granted in 1967, allows the company to govern itself by collecting taxes and providing emergency services.

Photo: AP
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The controversial law has been condemned by critics who say it marginalizes LGBTQ people. Photo: AP
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The proposal could have huge tax implications for Disney, whose string of theme parks has turned Orlando into one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote in a campaign fundraising email on Wednesday that “if Disney wants to fight, they’ve picked the wrong guy,” adding that he “won’t allow a corporation based in California to lead our state”.

The measures, pushed by Mr DeSantis, mark an escalation of his ongoing feud with Disney after the company said it would suspend political donations in the state and pledged to support organizations that oppose the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

The law, signed by Mr. DeSantis last month, prohibits lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity for children under nine and has been condemned by critics who say it marginalizes LGBTQ people.

However, proponents who support the policy say it is reasonable and that parents should raise these topics with children, not teachers.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has hinted in recent weeks that he wants to remove Disney's protections.  Photo: AP
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is widely considered a presidential candidate in 2024. Photo: AP

What would be the impact of the bill on Disney?

The entertainment giant controls about 25,000 acres in the Orlando area, and the district allows the company to build new structures and pay an impact fee for such construction without approval from a board of directors. local planning.

The bill would eliminate the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the Disney government is known, along with a handful of other similar districts by June 2023.

Mr DeSantis has hinted in recent weeks that he wants to remove Disney’s protections, saying he does not “support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful”.

    Walt Disney chief executive Bob Chapek faced backlash from staff following his response to the bill
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Walt Disney chief executive Bob Chapek has faced a backlash from staff following the company’s initial response to the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law

The bill still has to clear the House before heading to the office of Mr DeSantis, who in a surprise move has asked politicians to consider the bill in a special session he has called this week.

He comes as a Disney heir, Charlee Disneythe daughter of Roy P Disney who is the great-nephew of Walt Disney and the co-founder of Walt Disney Co, recently came out as trans.

However, the company was criticized for initially failing to take a public stand against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which led to staff walkouts.

The decision to strip Disney of its self-governing status marks the latest blow to a culture war waged by Mr. DeSantis as he runs for re-election, by fierce opposition to liberal policies on race, gender and gender. ‘abortion.

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