A legislative proposal introduced Monday in the Florida Legislature would rename the Reedy Creek Improvement District that has been controlled by Disney World in Central Florida for more than 55 years and replace it with a new board selected exclusively by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The 189-page proposal (HB 9B) is being sponsored in the Florida House by Representative Fred Hawkins, who represents parts of Orange and Osceola counties in the Legislature.
The measure would rename the Reedy Creek Improvement District to the “Central Florida Tourism Oversight District” and would consist of five members, all appointed by DeSantis upon confirmation of the Florida Senate.
Each of the five board members would serve for a term of four years and could not serve more than three consecutive terms. The measure bans anyone who has been a theme park employee, officer or director in the past three years from serving on the board, along with their relatives.
The legislation says that “consideration” should be given for members to come from a broad range of fields including, but not limited to, experience in accounting, business management, construction, cybersecurity or data privacy, engineering and environmental sciences.
The bill says that for a transitional period of no longer than two years, the district may continue doing business using “Reedy Creek Improvement District” as a fictitious name to provide sufficient time to make the necessary changes.
The Walt Disney corporation weighed in on the proposal on Monday afternoon.
“We are monitoring the progression of the draft legislation, which is complex given the long history of the Reedy Creek Improvement District,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “Disney works under a number of different models and jurisdictions around the world, and regardless of the outcome, we remain committed to providing the highest quality experience for the millions of guests who visit each year.”
The bill will come up for its first hearing in the House State Affairs Committee, which has not yet scheduled its next meeting.
Democratic State Rep. Anna Eskamani, of Orlando, responded quickly to the legislation:
“They should rename the district to ‘Disney is the Governor’s Political Prisoner’ since that’s pretty much what this bill does; it’s a power grab by DeSantis and allows him to appoint more of his friends into positions of power and potentially push contracts towards his friends too. All the while censoring Disney and their ability to express First Amendment rights and defend LGBTQ+ people. It’s a gross farce at corporate accountability.”
–Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix
Solving a problem through legislation by elected officials. Sounds OK. As the mood of the state shifts, this program, like others, will shift.
And just what is the problem which needs to be solved?
I didn’t realize Disney was its own separate government, like the Vatican. I would imagine they are just about as rich as the Vatican also. Of course they should be subject to the same government as the rest of us.
JohnX: I’m afraid you don’t understand how this works. There are plenty of districts around the state, and they usually are, for instance, water control districts, or like here in Flagler County, the Mosquito Control District. They “govern” the flow of water through canals and weirs, and they collect taxes in their districts, but they also pay taxes to the state and abide to state laws. They are nothing like the Vatican, not even close. They are not a separate government.
These district boards have a fiduciary relationship with the citizens of the district, not politically appointed buddies as DeSantis is trying to do.
Looking at Disney World, a corporation on the stock exchange, why is DeSantis and the Republicans meddling in corporate businesses for political gain?
Out Of Control Fascist says
How do people NOT see this is exactly what fascists do? Cubans fled because of this. Europeans fled in the late 1800s and early 1900s because of this. This is what they do in Russia and China. What is stopping him from taking over any business? This online site? Anyone that disagrees with him is the enemy. He is out of control. This is SO far beyond what you think of Disney. This is an elected official. A Governor. Someone that works for the people. Yet he is seizing control of businesses that made him angry. Say what? He screams freedom out one side of his mouth then says you hurt my feelings so now I destroy you, out of the other side.
The man is on an unhinged power trip and the press is not pushing back because of their own fear of retaliation. The 1st amendment protects them. We haven’t rewritten the entire document. The press should hammer him on what he is doing. His hypocrisy. His big government overreach. And yet it’s crickets. You are doing a disservice to the people of FL. You are allowing him to control the message. It’s pathetic.
It all started with Trump. It continues with this jerk. He will have some reach out of FL with the bigots and Nazi freaks. Not regular people though. He’s even more far right than Orban. He’s not scary. He’s pathetic. A man grasping for control and power because he knows he lost Gen Z. He has to modify education to control the next generation. He is the one that is scared. No one comfortable in their own skin or their own thoughts has this much hate. One day, his children will see all he has done and either fear him or hate him. They will never truly love him. I’ve seen it too many times in too many families. Power, greed and control destroys families more than books, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of sexuality, or following the words of the whole king himself, Jesus.
100% Agree. All companies should be treated equal. Disney had it’s break and no it’s time to get inline with everyone else.
Nothing says putting cronies in charge like personally appointing me. DeSantis taking cues from Mein Kampf
The Fat Little Dictator will do anything in his power to attack those the oppose him, right out of Trumps play book. And the Florida Legislators do whatever he wants.
C. J. says
Kiss Disney goodby. Then what will FL do for tax income… Take a guess…
Disney will leave Florida and tell DeathSantis to stick it.
And the fools in this state voted him right back in, the little vindictive despot. Floridians are only “free” if they bow down like a toady to Desantis. From Disney to the schools, you must toe the line or be punished.
Thomas Kaspar says
Disney has been neglectful and a poor partner to Orlando and Florida . If they had it their way they would build a Disney Gate with a monorail from MCO to Disneyworld in to the park and stuff it all in their pockets . They are the anti-Walt that has been pissing on employees for 50 years .
James Mejuto says
It’s amazing we should pay so much attention to Disney and Reedy Creek ! If Disney, already an over inflated piece of scrap
that has ripped-off the consumer for years does not want to go to court to defend its own then forget about it.
@desantis: is it Great Leader, Dear Leader—What’s Next?
Or maybe just stick with der Führer? Becoming North Korea’s sister state may not be as simple as elected Republicans say it is.
Doug Brown says
Absolutely wonderful news. Why should Disney have something that the other thyme parks do not? Quick answer, they shouldn’t.
Doug: You are preferring that DeSantis appoint people who are more loyal to him than to the people in the districts? Please learn more about districts before you hand out a “Quick answer…”. There is a lack of understanding of what DeSantis is doing. Y’all need to catch up, and fast.
Reedy Creek handles all the responsibilities of a city. It provides fire services, garbage collections, road maintenance and dozens of other tasks at no burden to the local taxpayers. The other theme (not an herb) parks do nothing like this and live off the taxpayer. No local government in Florida could do what Reedy Creek does because they do not have a clue how to make it work.
If this jerk-dog would put half of the energy into doing something positive for the residents of Florida such as attempting to reduce our outlandish homeowner insurance rates he might enjoy a bit of bipartisan support. I really hope all of you who voted for this poor excuse of a human being receive enough satisfaction for his antics to equal the increases you will be seeing in your insurance premiums.
Wow. Shoveling out the shit spread by desantis’ zombies is a Sisyphean task.
Anyway, hope this is a start:
how districts like reedy creek
A specific example of how elected Republicans have flat out lied about the matter ever since desantis had one of his fits and pulled this stunt out of his ass:
The Contractual Impossibility of Unwinding Disney’s Reedy Creek
April 26, 2022, 4:45 AM
“There’s been a lot of talk about whether Florida lawmakers can legally dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, but there’s one basic reason why Florida can’t dissolve it—it promised bond purchasers that it wouldn’t, says Jacob Schumer of Shepard, Smith, Kohlmyer & Hand.
Much ado has been made about the legality of Florida’s Senate Bill 4C purporting to dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District: whether it was retaliation prohibited by the First Amendment, whether it was passed with sufficient formality, and so on. But there’s a much more basic reason Florida can’t dissolve Reedy Creek—it promised bond purchasers that it wouldn’t…”
The pro desantis comments do provide one insight: P.T. Barnum was right.
Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don’t.
— Pete Seeger
One should not assume that Disney has Mickey Mouse attorneys. Contracts in the USA are protected by the US Constitution.
Article I, Section 10, Clause 1:
No State shall… …; pass any… …Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts,…”
The Bond Holders have a contract, which neither the governor or the legislature can impair. This saga is far from over.
Full text of Article I, Section 10, Clause 1:
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
Donald J Trump says
DeSantis is the most dangerous politician in the country, he consumes more oxygen than he is entitled too.
Barbara Royere says
People why did you re-elect this worm. He is a lose cannon. You mess with Disney you will get what he deserves.
I hope they take a big bite out of him. He is a little Hitler, wants what he wants. He is all for himself. Not us.
Be very afraid
I can envision Disney and all their 2,000 plus jobs leaving FL.. for other states willing to host them that I bet are several out there. Is like here our totalitarian past and current city administration voting 3 yes to 2 no, to forever destroy our resort destination with the Harborside approval changing the original zoning from commercial hotel that sustained over 300 jobs, to multifamily, endangering the permanence public use of our fuel in the marina and giving away the only access to a launching ramp in emergencies in the only water front land in the city center and the public intracoastal front pathway to be closed forever.
If it wasn’t for Disney – Universal and SeaWorld Florida would be another Mississippi or Louisiana !!!!
Crusty Old Salt says
One of the reasons Florida has no state income tax is because of our tourism dollars generated from the theme parks. Hard to imagine Disney pulling up stakes with their investment here. However, this is not a poker game Floridians should be willing to take.
Just think of the tourist income we would lose if Disney relocated out of the state.
Having said that, how would we replace those tourist dollars? Welcome to the thought of a state income tax because of Desantis and his prejudicial vendetta against Disney.
Crusty: DeSantis and his prejudicial and PERSONAL vendetta against Disney. We don’t recall DeSantis asking our opinions on the attack, do we?
Thomas A Kaspar Jr says
Why dont you Google the history of greedy Disney World in Orlando screwing its employees , Orange County , Church Street , Brightline , MCO , not a friend to the last decades Florida . You Karen pensioners always get triggered .