As Florida and its increasingly popular Governor Ron DeSantis (now a front-runner, along with President Trump, to secure the Republican nomination in 2024) seek to respond to (some might say retaliate against) Disney over its opposition to Fla. House Bill 1557 - better known by its leftist nickname the "Don't Say Gay" bill - the Florida Senate has now passed a bill that would dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, an entity created in the 1960s that essentially gave the Walt Disney World Resort the same powers as a municipality.
Gov. DeSantis expanded the scope of a special legislative session that began Tuesday and was initially called to handle redistricting in the state. The broadened scope will allow lawmakers to consider "termination of all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968." Gov. DeSantis has pushed the bill, and is expected to sign it.
The "Don't Say Gay" Bill, officially known as House Bill 1557, passed both chambers and was signed by DeSantis late last month, and Disney - once known for being a purveyor of entertainment that comports with general notions of family values - had been an outspoken opponent of the bill.
In response, Florida Republicans are now pushing Senate Bill 4C, which would, if signed into law, dismantle the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as well as other independent special districts throughout the state. Although districts could apply for reinstatement next year.
Republicans on the House State Affairs Committee slammed Disney as "perverted by a woke mob" and "goofy with power" before the measure passed by a 14-7 vote.
Rep. Randy Fine, a sponsor of the House version of the bill, memorably said "you kick the hornet's nest, things come up."
Gov. DeSantis is also calling on lawmakers to review a carve-out that exempts Disney from a law targeting alleged censorship by Big Tech companies.
Some critics have accused DeSantis and Florida Republicans of abusing their power by allegedly retaliating against Disney for criticism that's protected under the First Amendment. Disney World is an iconic Florida business that employs more than 77,000 workers and annually draws more than 58 million tourists to the state.