On Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis gave his signature to a bill that will, if passed, invalidate several contentious development deals that involve Walt Disney World.
In the midst of his conflict with the entertainment behemoth, Governor DeSantis declared that lawmakers had “acted appropriately” and then promptly announced that he would approve a measure.
The dispute began when Disney voiced its opposition to a rule that would have taken effect in 2022 and placed restrictions on how students might learn about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.
The legislation that DeSantis approved and signed (SB 1604) has the intention of nullifying any agreements that Disney and the previous board of the Reedy Creek Improvement District struck in the period of time just before the board was replaced with appointees chosen by DeSantis.
In the 1960s, the Reedy Creek area was established, and as part of its creation, Disney was granted a significant amount of autonomy over its operations.
“The reason why the Legislature had to act was not because of anything we did,” At a press conference to announce the completion of the 60-day legislative session, DeSantis made the remarks.“It was basically borne out of Disney’s arrogance, that they would be able to subcontract around the duly enacted laws of the state of Florida. That’s wrong.”
The legislation would give appointees of DeSantis to the board of the renamed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District the authority to reevaluate the agreements.
Following the passage of legislation in February by the Legislature that granted him power, DeSantis used his authority and made the nominations.
According to the legislation that was passed on Friday and signed into law, special districts would be barred from adhering to development agreements that were made no more than three months before new regulations that alter the process of electing district board members go into effect.
In addition, the measure would provide new boards a period of time equal to four months during which they might evaluate any existing development agreements and determine whether or not they should be re-adopted.
Additionally, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has initiated legal action on the state level in an effort to have the agreements declared invalid.
Disney has filed a complaint with the federal government, claiming that DeSantis and other authorities are taking retaliatory action against the firm, which is having a negative impact on the company’s bottom line and is in violation of its constitutional rights.
The law was approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 75-34 on Wednesday, while it was passed by the Senate by a vote of 27-13 on Thursday.