Disney’s Special Status May Be Revoked by Florida Lawmakers in LGBTQ Rebuke

Skift grip

It looks like a tit-for-tat movement, regardless of one’s opinion on the underlying political issue.

Sean O’Neill

Florida lawmakers on Thursday passed a bill that would revoke Walt Disney Co’s self-government status in a move widely seen as a trade-off for corporate opposition to a new state law limiting discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools.

The bill is now heading to the office of Governor Ron DeSantis, who is virtually guaranteed to sign it. The Republican-led state House voted 70 to 38 to scrap a special tax district that allows Disney to self-govern the roughly 25,000-acre area of ​​Orlando where its theme park resort is located. DisneyWorld. The state Senate passed the measure on Wednesday.

DeSantis, in a surprise move, had asked lawmakers to review the legislation in a special session he called this week.

The law seeks to eliminate a handful of special tax districts, including the Reedy Creek Improvement District in Orlando. This structure makes Disney, which is one of the largest private employers in the state, responsible, and other landowners for providing services such as firefighting, power, water and roads. . They in turn benefit from reduced taxes and fees.

The change would come into effect in June 2023.

DeSantis, a Republican who is a potential candidate for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024, wants to hit back at Disney for his opposition to a law that bans classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity for children. students under the age of about 9. The governor signed the legislation last month.

Disney, which was criticized last month by many members of the LGBTQ community, including some Disney employees, for initially not taking a public stance against the measure, later condemned the legislation, saying it would pause all political donations in Florida. This sparked a storm of condemnation against Disney by many Republicans.

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

(Reporting by Maria Caspani; Additional reporting by Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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