ORLANDO, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday said he would be “receptive” to discussions around changing a decades-long state law that grants Disney the power to self-govern its Disney World property.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis said he's "receptive" to the legislature making changes to Disney's special self-governing status

  • A 1967 law allowed Disney World to establish its own government through the Reedy Creek Improvement District

  • Disney recently publicly opposed Florida's controversial Parental Rights in Education measure 

​The governor made the comments while answering reporters’ questions during a news conference in Titusville.

“So me as the governor, I could be presented with changes to that,” DeSantis said. “I think I’ve said I’d be receptive to that. But ultimately, the legislature would have to move forward. So I know that there’s a lot of discussion about that, and we’ll just see how that shakes out.”

The governor’s response on Friday came after State Rep. Spencer Roach, R-North Fort Myers, tweeted that lawmakers had met twice to discuss repealing the 1967 state law that allowed Disney to establish Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Through this arrangement, Reedy Creek runs as its own government, providing fire protection, emergency, utility, and planning services for the property around Disney World.

“If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seem fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County,” Roach tweeted.

Both Roach and DeSantis’ remarks came after Disney took a public stance against the state’s controversial Parental Rights in Education measure, which was signed into law by DeSantis on Monday.

The law bans classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, or “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

After initially not commenting on the legislation, Disney publicly opposed the then bill, which had been dubbed as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics, during an annual shareholders meeting earlier this month.

When the bill was signed into law, Disney issued a statement that said the bill “should never have been signed into law” and that it would work to get the law repealed or “struck down in the courts.”

DeSantis responded by stating that the company had “crossed the line.”

Former Florida House member Dick Batchelor said, though, that dissolving Reedy Creek would be complicated and, in general, a bad idea.

“There’s no legal reason to challenge Reedy Creek Improvement District," the Orlando Democrat said. "There is only a political reason and not a very good one — to say to Disney, 'While you oppose me on a public policy, I will now try to be punitive and punish you.'"

Batchelor said changing Disney’s Reedy Creek District would bring up an extremely long list of questions about providing fire rescue services to the site, maintaining roads around the theme parks and the impact such a move would have on Orange County taxpayers. 

“It is extraordinarily complicated," he said. "I think it is unprecedented, and from a prudent standpoint, from a fiscal prudent standpoint, it’s insane. It’s really insane to try to disrupt a multi-billion dollar business."

Disney is in the process of relocating some 2,000 parks-related jobs from California to Florida.


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