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Florida state rep files bill to eliminate Disney’s self-governing power

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Florida State Rep. Randy Fine announced Tuesday that he has filed a bill that would eliminate special privileges The Walt Disney Company has in the state of Florida,

The move comes after Disney came out in opposition to Florida’s parental rights bill. Gov. Ron DeSantis called on state lawmakers to take action that would dismantle certain protections for Disney during an ongoing special session of the legislature.

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“Disney is a guest in Florida. Today, we remind them,” Fine tweeted. ,@GovDeSantis just expanded the Special Session so I could file HB3C which eliminates Reedy Creek Improvement District, a 50 yr-old special statute that makes Disney to exempt from laws faced by regular Floridians.”

DeSantis had previously hinted at his support for repeating a 55-year-old state law that allows Disney to effectively govern itself on the grounds of Walt Disney World.

“What I would say as a matter of first principle is I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power,” DeSantis said during a press conference last month.

The Reedy Creek Improvement Act was signed into law in May 1967 by Gov. Claude Kirk in response to lobbying efforts by Disney. The entertainment giant proposed building a recreation-oriented development on 25,000 acres of property in a remote area of ​​Central Florida’s Orange and Osceola counties, which consisted of 38.5 square miles of largely uninhabited pasture and swamp land.

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Orange and Osceola County did not have the services or resources needed to bring the project to life, so the state legislature worked with Disney to establish the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special taxing district that allows the company to act with the same authority and responsibility as a county government.

FILE PHOTO: Fireworks go off around Cinderella’s castle during the grand opening ceremony for Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland in Lake Buena Vista, Florida December 6, 2012. REUTERS/Scott Audette/File Photo
(REUTERS/Scott Audette/File Photo)

“I am announcing today that we are expanding the call of what they are going to be considering,” DeSantis said during a Tuesday press conference at The Villages in Florida. “Yes, they will be considering the congressional map but they will also be considering termination of all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968 and that includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District.”

Disney has been engaged in a war of words with Republicans in Florida over a bill recently signed by DeSantis which prohibits classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” with children in third grade or younger “or in a manner that is not age -appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

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Shortly after the bill was signed, Disney released a statement slamming the bill while echoing media headlines and Democratic talking points by labeling it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The bill does not ban the word “gay” in school settings and it does not ban casual discussions of topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom.

Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.

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