Florida House approves bill stripping Disney of special districts

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Florida House approves bill stripping Disney of special districts

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC22) in Orlando on February 24. The Florida House Thursday passed a law stripping Disney of its special self-governing district near Orlando after Disney CEO Bob Chapek publicly opposed Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

The Florida House on Thursday passed a bill eliminating Disney’s self-governing special district in the Orlando area. It now heads to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis to be signed into law.

This action was triggered after Disney CEO Bob Chapek publicly opposed Florida’s Parental Rights In Education law, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law by critics. The bill bans any “discussion” and “instruction” related to gender and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade.

The legislation to end the special district was introduced after Disney announced it would withhold campaign contributions in response to Florida passing that law.

Civil rights groups sued Florida over the controversial law. The suit said the law was an effort to control young minds through state censorship and to demean LGTBQ lives.

“The state of Florida has no right to declare them outcasts, or to treat their allies as outlaws, by punishing schools where someone dares to affirm their identity and dignity,” the lawsuit said.

DeSantis used a special session of the GOP-controlled Florida legislature to strip Disney of the special legal status that it has had since 1967.

The Disney district, created by state law in 1967, had allowed the company to function as a self-governing district, collecting taxes and providing services within roughly 25,000 acres in the Orlando area.

According to the New York Times, DeSantis used his confrontation with Disney to raise campaign money.

Democratic state lawmakers opposed the Disney special districts law.

Florida Rep. Anna V. Eskamani tweeted opposition to both the Disney law and what she called the unconstitutional congressional maps also approved during the special session.

“This is not democracy — this is one party rule drunk on power and bullying anyone in their way into submission,” she tweeted.

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