Democrats join Disney in opposing parental rights, BOO parents advocates.
On Thursday, the Florida state legislature passed a bill seeking to dissolve a special district that allows the Walt Disney Company to act as its own government within the outer limits of Orange and Osceola counties. The bill passed the state Senate on Wednesday with a vote of 23-16 and sailed through the state’s House of Representatives by a vote of 70-38.
The proposal was first introduced Tuesday by Republican state Sen. Jennifer Bradley, but opponents say it’s really driven by DeSantis. Widely seen as a contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, DeSantis is locked in a bitter and public feud with the entertainment giant over the company’s denouncement of Florida’s HB 1557 law last month. HB 1557, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, limits early education teachings on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Until recently, there had been no major public discussion about dissolving Disney’s long-established special district, which it’s occupied for 55 years, leading opposing senators and other critics of the bill to question its timing and the speed at which it’s being pushed through.
State Rep. Randy Fine told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday that the bill isn’t retaliatory but 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.’”
Fine said the bill was introduced to even the playing field in Florida for theme park operators. He noted that Disney’s competition, Universal, SeaWorld and Legoland, do not have special districts to operate in.
Democrats in the state Senate, though outnumbered, came to the theme park’s defense on Wednesday during a special session of the body