Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is coming for the mouse, Mickey Mouse, that is. This week, DeSantis has passed many new bills, including SB 4-C, which dissolves Disney’s special independent district status. Disney World’s special district, also known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, began in 1967, which allowed Disney to operate as its own government. The district covers about 25,000 acres, ranging about 40 miles of Central Florida. The provision allowed the company to collect taxes and issue bonds, exempted the park from most state regulations, and relieved “the counties of paying for new services and infrastructure in what was once a remote and rural area.” The governor’s decision comes after Disney publicly took a stance against the newly passed Don’t Say Gay Bill in Florida. Republicans in Florida are viewing this as a betrayal.
Florida’s attack against the mega-corporation may lead to millions of campaign contributions down the drain as Disney employs 38 lobbyists in the state and makes very “generous” campaign contributions to Florida candidates for both parties. The company has even donated to DeSantis’s campaign for governor of the state; therefore, the governor must scramble to find funds that are not from the mouse’s pockets. The bill will take into effect in June 2023, leaving Disney with two options. If eliminated, the first option is to reapply for a special district, which will most likely be denied because the governor and his party have made it clear they have now turned their backs on the company. Then there is option two, where the company could decrease or halt its future investments in the resort.
Furthermore, Republican lawmakers in the U.S. Congress stated they would vote to oppose renewing Disney’s company copyright on Mickey Mouse within the next two years because of their “political and sexual agenda.” One must realize that if the company were to side with the governor’s party, this would not be happening. In addition, a corporation such as Disney has significant political power, and most people tend to forget that. Florida is an example of how much Disney has influenced politics. There needs to be rules and regulations on how much influence billion-dollar companies have on politics. Overall, the governor’s homophobic legislation is not moving society forward but setting it back 20 years. Companies like Disney are doing a fair job at opposing that, but that does not mean that they should have an extreme amount of political power.
This blog post is part of the CIMA Law Group blog. If you are located in Arizona and seek legal services, CIMA Law Group specializes in Immigration Law, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, and Government Relations.