Florida Republicans Target Disney for Opposition to New Law
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently called on Republican lawmakers to consider a bill that would "eliminate a special tax district that allows the Walt Disney Co. to govern the land where its theme parks sit." The lawmakers targeted the company for publicly "opposing legislation that restricted classroom instruction on gender and sexuality," according to The Wall Street Journal.
The controversial Parental Rights in Education bill, known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill by its critics, was signed into law at the end of March, causing a wave of protests across the state. Disney’s public opposition to the law followed an employee walkout in protest of CEO Bob Chapek's soft stance on the bill as it made its way through the Florida legislature.Embed from Getty Images
After the governor signed the bill into law, the Walt Disney Company issued a statement vowing to help repeal the controversial legislation, setting off a war of words between Republicans and the Disney company. The statement read, in part, "Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that."
On Wednesday, the Florida Senate passed the bill in a special session convened by the governor, and the GOP-led House will likely vote to approve the measure Thursday. DeSantis "has made clear he would sign it."
Florida Senate Passes Bill to Eliminate Disney’s Special Tax District (Robbie Whelan & Arian Compos-Flores - The Wall Street Journal)
According to The Washington Post, "local officials in Central Florida sounded the alarm, warning the repeal could leave them with a burdensome tax bill," as Disney is currently responsible for "road maintenance, building inspections, 911 emergency calls and sewage treatment at the theme park, which straddles two counties."
However, in a fundraising email, Governor DeSantis praised the effort by writing, “I was elected to put the people of Florida first, and I will not allow a woke corporation based in California to run our state.”
Florida GOP Senate advances bill to revoke Disney’s special tax status (Lori Rozsa - The Washington Post)
UPDATE: The GOP-led Florida House passed the tax district bill 70-38 on Thursday, a day after the Senate approved it 23-16, and the measure was signed into law by the governor late Friday.Embed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty Images