Florida Disney Bill To Strip DeSantis District of Power Arrives at Final Decision

in Disney, Walt Disney World

DeSantis looking shocked over Disney castle

Credit: Inside the Magic

A legislative bill to dissolve the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) and give the authority of Governor Ron DeSantis and his board of directors back to Disney has managed to make its way to the state Senate, where it awaits its final decision.

Disney's governing district - An image to the left of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with a photo to the right of the Magic Kingdom castle with a vs. graphic in the middle.
Credit: Edited by Inside The Magic

Last November, Senator Linda Stewart (D) introduced a bill to shut down the controversial new tax district created by Ron DeSantis in alleged political retaliation against the Walt Disney Company in response to former CEO Bob Chapek’s public opposition to a new anti-LGBTQIA+ law.

Related: Ron DeSantis’ Board Accuses Disney of ‘Challenging’ Florida State Laws

The bill asked legislators to get rid of the new CFTOD and strip its board of directors (who had been handpicked by the governor) of their authority, reinstating the former Reedy Creek Improvement District that had been run by Disney for decades. The bill was prevented from even going to a vote by a mass walk-out of Republican legislators, a political maneuver to prevent the necessary quorum from being present.

Ron DeSantis at Disney World with Minnie, Mickey, and Goofy
Credit: PBS, Disney, edited by ITM

More recently, however, Senator Stewart’s unnamed bill actually managed to get passed through Orange County, meaning that it would go to a state senate vote and be within a hairsbreadth of actually becoming law. That is the stage SB 1650 is currently in. It tersely and explicitly is intended to shut down the CFTOD and return the Reedy Creek Improvement District to the state it was in on February 26, 2023.

The full text can be read here:

Related: DeSantis Attacks “Grotesque Spending Bills” as He Asks for Millions to Fight Disney

Unsurprisingly, it will be an uphill battle for SB 1650 from here. Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R) has already come out against the bill, saying, “I think we’ve gone on the right path at least, I don’t want to go back.”

Additionally, the Florida Senate is overwhelmingly dominated by Republican legislators, almost all of whom can be predicted to vote on the side of the governor and retain the CFTOD. Even if pro-Disney legislators manage to sway enough votes for the bill to pass, it would still have to face an inevitable veto from the governor himself.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis looking sad in front of the Cinderella Castle at Disney World.
Credit: Inside The Magic

We will continue to update regarding the status of the bill to remove the DeSantis board from power and reinstate Disney.

Do you think the area around Walt Disney World should be controlled by the company? Let us know in the comments below!

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