TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a invoice that provides him management of Walt Disney World’s self-governing district, punishing the company over its opposition to the so-called “Do not Say Homosexual” legislation.
The invoice requires DeSantis, a Republican, to nominate a five-member board to supervise the federal government companies that the Disney district gives in its sprawling theme park properties in Florida.
“Immediately the company kingdom lastly involves an finish,” he mentioned at a invoice signing ceremony in Lake Buena Vista. “There is a new sheriff on the town, and accountability would be the order of the day.”
The signing got here as DeSantis gears up for an expected presidential run and marks a high-profile legislative victory for a governor whose leveraging of cultural and political divides has pushed him to the fore of nationwide Republican politics. DeSantis, whose e book, “The Braveness to be Free,” is popping out Tuesday, has moved in current weeks to develop his nationwide profile and political community by means of fundraisers and conferences with donors, elected officers and conservative influencers.
The takeover of the Disney district started final yr when the leisure large publicly opposed “Don’t Say Gay,” which bars instruction on sexual orientation and gender identification in kindergarten by means of third grade and classes deemed not age-appropriate.
DeSantis moved to rapidly to penalize the company, directing lawmakers within the GOP-dominated Legislature to dissolve Disney’s self-governing district throughout a particular legislative session final yr, starting a intently watched restructuring course of.
In February, DeSantis referred to as on lawmakers to once more return to take care of Disney and finalize state management over the district in one other unexpectedly referred to as particular session that signaled the governor’s willingness to wield the facility of state authorities to perform political objectives, a method that’s anticipated to proceed within the coming months forward of his potential White Home run.
The brand new legislation adjustments the district’s title from the Reedy Creek Enchancment District to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and topics it to numerous layers of state oversight. Board members are at present named by means of entities managed by Disney.
It leaves the district and its monetary talents and debt obligations intact, addressing a chief concern of surrounding governments. It additionally prevents individuals who have labored with or contracted with a theme park previously three years from serving on the district’s new governing board.
Having a separate authorities permits the district to difficulty bonds and supply zoning, hearth safety, utilities and infrastructure companies on its land. Republican critics of the district argue it provides Disney a industrial benefit unavailable to others.