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DeSantis: Florida lawmakers to consider elimination of Disney’s self-governing status

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has taken his battle with Disney a step further, announcing at a press briefing on Tuesday that the state’s legislature will consider terminating the special status of the Reedy Creek Improvement District that administers much of Walt Disney World.

DeSantis said that the special session of the state’s legislature will be expanded to include considering the termination of all special districts enacted in Florida prior to 1968, according to a video of the press briefing shared by the governor on Twitter.

The special status, which Disney has had since 1967, gave the company the legal right to operate under its own government around Walt Disney World in central Florida.

DeSantis appeared to support eliminating Disney’s special status that allows it to operate as an independent government in the area around its Orlando park earlier this month when he said that the company has “alienated a lot of people now” as a result of its opposition to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Disney did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

Disney has previously received flak for its neutral stance on the DeSantis-backed legislation, prompting CEO Bob Chapek to apologize for remaining silent on the anti-LGBTQ bill. 

“It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights. You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down,” Chapek said. “I am sorry.”

Those comments came as part of an escalating dispute between DeSantis and Disney over the bill, which bans schools in the state from educating children about gender identity or sexual orientation.

Florida’s bill, which will take effect on July 1, comes as a number of other states have passed legislation that targets LGBTQ schoolchildren. Several states have either introduced or passed bills that ban the use of gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth, including puberty blockers or gender-affirming surgeries. 

Tags Bob Chapek disney Florida Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis

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