Over the past several months, we’ve been following the back-and-forth between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney.
After Disney spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill (dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by its opponents), DeSantis responded by asking lawmakers to take away Disney World’s special taxing district — the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Now we’re learning more about the proposal that would establish a new method of governing Disney World property.
House Bill 9B — Reedy Creek Improvement District, Orange and Osceola Counties was filed today in Tallahassee. The bill includes several proposed changes for the district — but reverses an earlier law that would have dissolved the RCID.
A law passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by DeSantis in April 2022 would have dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement District on June 1, 2023. But the new proposal before state lawmakers would keep the district intact with a new name — the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
The big change in the proposal is WHO would run the district. While Disney previously elected its own board, the bill lays out a new plan. Florida’s governor would have the power to appoint the five members of the district’s board of supervisors, and they would then be confirmed by the state senate.
The bill provides for a two-year period to transition to the new name and new board appointment process.
It also lays out a list of things that would disqualify someone from serving on the board: “Any person who, within the past 3 years, has been an officer, owner, director, employee, agent, contractor, or subcontractor of, or has had a contractual relationship with a business entity that owns or operates a theme park or entertainment complex as defined in s. 509.013(9), Florida 2236 Statutes, or a parent company, subsidiary, or sibling organization under common ownership or control with a business entity that owns or operates a theme park or entertainment complex.”
Under the proposal, members of the district’s board of supervisors would be responsible for reviewing the district’s powers and authorities, and making recommendations to the Legislature on any powers they believe the state should repeal.
The restructured district would still have many of the powers it previously had, including the ability to manage public utilities, grant building permits, sue, acquire property, lease facilities, and more.
Lawmakers are in Tallahassee for a 12-day special session, and they are expected to vote on this proposal within the next few days. We’ll continue to keep you updated on these proposed changes.
Stay tuned to DFB!
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Do you agree with the changes Gov. DeSantis is proposing? Tell us in the comments.
David Dominie says
No. DeSantis is just using this as a matter of revenge for Disney using their freedom of speech against him and his Republican followers. They need to learn that following one person’s beliefs should not jeopardize the will of free speech.
So, the governor wants a board that has NO experience in the theme park industry? Ya that’s brilliant! Disney should just say NO and fight the change (they should have stayed out of politics to begin with), now that they are in the fight they shouldn’t back down. Hopefully pass along the billion dollars in debt to the residents of Florida and then maybe they will speak up against what the governor is doing. Wow what a mess.
Does DeSantis sound like more of an imbecile every time he makes a statement? No one on on a board to run theme park land who has had recent experience doing so? This after the slap fight because the old Bob dared speak against his bill?
This guy needs to be promoted to dog catcher.
Yup. I downloaded the who text of the bill. Apparently everything that is currently in RCID will have to be brought up to State Building Code, if it isn’t already. Every elevator will have to be inspected and certified/licensed. Everything to be built after the adoption date will have to go through the permitting process just like anything else in the state.
It is interesting that there is provision for building and expanding helipads in (what is now called) RCID.
Transparency will also become a thing. Everything the new board does will be available to the public both in terms of recordkeeping and that board meetings will be open to the public.
This will be a good thing that levels the playing field so that Disney has to compete on equal terms with all the other theme parks in the area.
Yes, we all know how efficient, and qualified the government is in every aspect of business. We’re all sure they will make everything better. As far as competing on equal terms…lowering the bar is not always a solution.
All of you saying DeSantis is wrong apparenlty think that Disney should be in politics. When Chepak said what he did, he was speaking on behalf of ALL of Disney which is wrong because not all people feel the way he may have. Disney, and all major businesses need to stay out of politics. This was on Chepak. He made a comment for a company that has no business dealing in politics and now DeSantis is telling Disney that they are going to lose their special privileges because they decided to use their standing in politics. If they didn’t want this to happen then Chepak should have kept his mouth shut. First Amendment doesn’t apply to businesses because that shows favoritism in politics. That’s like Walmart telling the city (after getting special tax privileges) that they dont agree with the city’s policy on something. Walmart (and Disney) should not have any say in politics because they employ thousands of people with different beliefs. They are owned by stock holders, not the President or CEO of the company. It’s not revenge, it’s showing Disney that they need to keep out of politics when they have special privileges granted by the state. Walt did NOT want politics involved and that is exactly what is happening.
Barbara K says
As a Floridian and also an annual Disney passholder for many years, Bully Ron needs to get over himself because we do not all feel the way he does about everything. He is getting even with Disney because they didn’t agree with him. What a petty little man. And yes, I DID NOT vote for him because he is running my state like a dictatorship! I know neither he or his cronies can maintain the Reedy Creek district as well as they and Disney has for the past 55 years! And not to mention the tax dollars they both pay that will now be passed on to the taxpayers! Get over yourself Ron, leave Reedy Creek alone and quit bullying people who don’t agree with you. By the way…The so called NEW name for the district sucks!