- A new bill has been filed to change the name of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District to the “Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.”
- The legislation also outlines a new method of selecting the district’s Board of Supervisors, with members being appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate.
- If adopted, individuals who were employed by or affiliated with Disney within the past three years would be prevented from serving on the Board.
Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District will undergo a name change, to ‘the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District,’ under a new bill filed on Monday. The bill also outlines a new method of how the district’s Board of Supervisors is selected.
Should the bill be adopted, Gov. Ron DeSantis would wield the power to appoint members to the five-person Board of Supervisors, pending subsequent confirmation by the state Senate.
“Each member shall hold office for a term of four years and until a successor is chosen and qualified,” reads the bill.
Under current Florida law, landowners within Reedy Creek elect Board members. Due to Disney’s ownership of much of the land within the district, the corporation was effectively able to select desired individuals. With the bill’s passage, the state would perform a de facto takeover of Reedy Creek.
A provision within the bill prevents any individual who was employed by or affiliated with Disney within the past three years to serve on the Board.
The bill also states that outstanding debts would not be affected by any of the listed changes.
Per Bloomberg, Reedy Creek currently holds around $1 billion in debt, presenting concerns among lawmakers and residents of nearby Orange and Osceola counties surrounding the unanswered question of where the district’s debts might flow to.
DeSantis set his sights on Reedy Creek last year after Disney publicly opposed a law that restricts instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.
As a result, House lawmakers swiftly passed a bill (SB 4-C) to officially eliminate the special district that allows Disney to self-govern its Orlando-area theme park but gave until June of this year for lawmakers to make needed changes.
“Until Governor DeSantis acted, the Walt Disney Company maintained sole control over the District. This power amounted to an unaccountable corporate kingdom,” the Office of the Governor told The Capitolist.
Reedy Creek was created by the Florida state legislature in 1967 to provide local government services for the Walt Disney World resort. The RCID has its own government, with powers similar to those of a county government, and is responsible for providing services such as fire protection, building inspection, and waste management within the district.
This is a developing story.