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Florida Legislature votes to strip Disney self-government after Disney objected to 'Don't Say Gay' legislation

Virus Outbreak Florida
Posted at 1:23 PM, Apr 21, 2022

The Florida House of Representatives has given final passage to a bill to dissolve a private government that Walt Disney World has been allowed to operate on its properties for more than five decades.

House lawmakers approved the measure on Thursday. The passage is a victory for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. He has lashed back at the entertainment giant after it publicly declared its opposition to a new law backed by the governor that critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.”

In response to the law, Disney suspended its political donations in the state after LGBTQ advocates who work for the company criticized CEO Bob Chapek for what they said was his slow response speaking out against it.

The Disney bill would eliminate the self-governed districts by June 2023. But it does allow the districts to be reestablished in the future, leaving the door open for further negotiations.

Before Disney World opened its gates, Walt Disney proposed to state lawmakers the theme park should have governing authority over the land. Months after his death, the state granted the company the establishment of the Reedy Creek Improvement District in 1967.

If it's repealed, Disney's central Florida land would fall under Orange and Osceola counties, since it stretches into both.