A bill that would end the special tax district privileges and Disney’s ability to self-govern in the area where Walt Disney World Resort is located has now passed the Florida House of Representatives, according to the Associated Press.
On Wednesday, the legislation passed the Florida Senate, and it now heads to the desk of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who during a fundraising pitch yesterday said that “Disney and other woke corporations won’t get away with peddling their unchecked pressure campaigns any longer .” It’s the latest move in a political battle after Disney publicly condemned Florida’s passage of its controversial “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.
Representatives for Disney did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The proposed bill would end the privileges Disney receives as part of exemptions created in 1967 for an area known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The exemption in effect allows Disney to govern itself on Disney World grounds, including having its own fire department and board of supervisors, as well as its ability to oversee land and environmental regulations.
Past estimates have suggested that Disney saves 10s of millions a year in regulations, taxes and fees because of the privileges, and repeating the exemption could put a big strain on the company. The Reedy Creek district spans over 27,000 acres, including Disney World’s four theme parks, two water parks and other hotels and retail outlets in the area. And the district was key in helping Disney World set up shop in Orlando back in the ’60s, as well as for the theme park that would become EPCOT Center.
Last month, Disney was embroiled in controversy over its initial silence over the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and when it was found that Disney had given donations to politicians who were sponsors or co-sponsors of the legislation. CEO Bob Chapek ultimately met with DeSantis in the hopes of vetoing the legislation, but after its passage, Disney has paused all political donations, apologized to its LGBTQ+ staff and vowed to fight to repeal the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The “Don’t Say Gay” law, officially called the Parental Rights in Education bill, will now prevent teachers in Florida public schools from holding any classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity. The law goes into effect on July 1.