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Florida’s House votes to dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District

Echoing the state Senate’s vote on Wednesday, Florida’s House of Representatives voted on Thursday to dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Reedy Creek Fire Department

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In a vote on Thursday, Florida’s GOP-led House of Representatives voted to dissolve Disney’s special tax district by a vote of 70 to 38. Wednesday’s Florida Senate vote passed with a vote of 23 to 16.

Some say the move is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s, as he seems to have had “his guns pointed at the Walt Disney World Resort,” according to CNBC. Votes taken in the Florida House and in the Florida Senate have come as part of a special session called to discuss the dissolution of special tax districts in the state of Florida.

In Thursday’s vote, the Florida House of Representatives passed the bill that would make Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District a thing of the past. Established in 1967, provisions for the Reedy Creek district allow The Walt Disney Company to act as its own sort of government within parts of Orange and Osceola Counties.

Florida lawmakers first heard the proposal to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District when it was introduced by Florida State Senator Jennifer Bradley. But those opposed to the proposal say that Governor Ron DeSantis is the one behind it, as he and Disney have gone head-to-head in a culture war battle over the entertainment giant’s denouncing of House Bill 1557, Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, which was signed into law by DeSantis on March 28.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis moves against Disney with push to eliminate special status for theme park - CNNPolitics

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The law specifically prohibits classroom instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation in Kindergarten through third grade, but it doesn’t preclude casual conversation or discussion about those issues, regardless of a student’s age and grade level.

Gov. DeSantis: Disney's "woke ideology" may cause the company to lose its "special privileges" in Florida - Disney Dining

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The dissolution of Disney’s long-standing special tax district has only recently been brought up for discussion. The Reedy Creek Improvement District has been around for some 55 years. The timing of a push to dissolve the district has some questioning the motives behind the move.

On CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday, Florida State Representative Randy Fine said that the bill to dissolve Reedy Creek isn’t in retaliation; however, he said, “when Disney kicked the hornet’s nest, we looked at special districts.”

“People wanted to deal with the special district for decades,” he said. “Disney had the political power to prevent it for decades. What changed is bringing California values to Florida. Floridians said ‘You are a guest. Maybe you don’t deserve the special privileges anymore.”

Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District isn’t the only special district affected by the Florida bill.

Though they are outnumbered, Florida Democrats have spoken out in defense of Disney.

“The Disney corporation is being attacked for expressing support for its many LGBTQ employees and customers,” said state Sen. Tina Polsky, a Democrat from Florida’s 19th district. “Are we really making this enormous decision based on spite?”

RELATED: DeSantis: Disney “crossed a line,” and its “woke ideology” may cause them to lose special privileges in Florida

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Credit: Disney Archives/CNBC/Canva Creation

As the bill to dissolve Reedy Creek has passed Florida’s Senate and House, it will now make its way to the desk inside the office of the Governor. Reportedly, if signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, the bill would become law, making way for the dissolution of Reedy Creek and other special districts in the state to take place in June 2023.

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!