DeSantis takes over Disney district, punishing company

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a bill that offers him manage of Walt Disney World’s self-governing district, punishing the corporation more than its opposition to the so-known as “Don’t Say Gay” law.

The invoice demands DeSantis, a Republican, to appoint a 5-member board to oversee the govt providers that the Disney district gives in its sprawling concept park properties in Florida.

“Nowadays the company kingdom finally will come to an close,” he mentioned at a bill signing ceremony in Lake Buena Vista. “There is a new sheriff in town, and accountability will be the get of the day.”

The signing arrived as DeSantis gears up for an expected presidential operate and marks a substantial-profile legislative victory for a governor whose leveraging of cultural and political divides has pushed him to the fore of national Republican politics. DeSantis, whose e book, “The Courage to be No cost,” is coming out Tuesday, has moved in latest months to increase his nationwide profile and political network via fundraisers and conferences with donors, elected officials and conservative influencers.

The takeover of the Disney district began previous calendar year when the leisure giant publicly opposed “Don’t Say Homosexual,” which bars instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten by means of third grade and lessons deemed not age-ideal.

DeSantis moved to speedily to penalize the enterprise, directing lawmakers in the GOP-dominated Legislature to dissolve Disney’s self-governing district all through a particular legislative session last year, beginning a closely watched restructuring system.

In February, DeSantis identified as on lawmakers to once more return to offer with Disney and finalize point out management about the district in an additional rapidly termed unique session that signaled the governor’s willingness to wield the electric power of condition government to attain political objectives, a tactic that is anticipated to continue on in the coming months forward of his probable White Property run.

The new legislation modifications the district’s title from the Reedy Creek Improvement District to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and subjects it to a variety of layers of state oversight. Board members are presently named by entities controlled by Disney.

It leaves the district and its economic qualities and financial debt obligations intact, addressing a main worry of surrounding governments. It also prevents men and women who have worked with or contracted with a theme park in the previous 3 a long time from serving on the district’s new governing board.

Possessing a individual govt makes it possible for the district to issue bonds and present zoning, hearth safety, utilities and infrastructure companies on its land. Republican critics of the district argue it provides Disney a industrial gain unavailable to others.