Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday announced that he amended his call for this week’s special session to include a review of special jurisdictions, including the Reedy Creek Improvement District governing jurisdiction that encompasses the land of the Walt Disney World Resort.
In 1967, the Florida Legislature passed the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, creating the District. With its implementation, Disney World is granted equivalent power to that of a county and is largely responsible for its own municipal services. Disney runs and operates its own police and fire departments, is responsible for the electrical grid that powers its parks, and manages its own roads. The Reedy Creek Improvement District obtains the funds to pay for these services by taxing the landowners that preside within the jurisdiction.
“I am announcing today that we are expanding the call of what they are going to be considering this week,” DeSantis said. “So 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.”
DeSantis has been in battle with Disney since the theme park company’s outspoken criticism of the Parental Rights in Education bill. In a statement, Disney said in a statement that the bill “should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” and that “our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.” Disney additionally put a pause on any political donations within the state.
Now, DeSantis wants to strip Disney of its local sway.
“I was shocked to see some of the stuff that’s in there. They can do their own nuclear power plant. Is there any other private company in the state that can just build a nuclear power plant on their own?” he said. “They’re able to do certain things that nobody else is able to do. So I think they’re right to be looking at this and reevaluating and having an even playing field for everybody, I think is much better than basically to allow one company to be a law onto itself.”
In his updated proclamation, DeSantis claims the Florida Constitution “prohibits special laws granting privileges to private corporations,” and makes clear his desire to assert that “it is necessary to review such independent special districts to ensure that they are appropriately serving the public interest.”
The Capitolist has reached out to Disney and awaits a response on the matter.