Less than three weeks after Florida state senators broached the topic of repealing the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act — and ending Disney’s ability to self-govern — the idea is gaining momentum.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday, April 19, asked the Florida Legislature to consider repealing the act as lawmakers convene this week for a special session on congressional redistricting.
“I am announcing today that we are expanding the call of what they (legislators) will be considering this week,” DeSantis said. “And so yes, they will be considering the congressional map, but they also will be considering termination of all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968, and that includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District.”
The Reedy Creek Improvement District, created by a special act of the Florida Legislature and signed into law by former Gov. Claude Kirk Jr., gives Disney power to oversee decisions related to land-use regulation and planning, building codes, surface water control, drainage, waste treatment, utilities, roads, bridges, fire protection, emergency medical services, and environmental services.
The district includes about 25,000 acres in both Orange and Osceola counties, and services 19 landowners, including Walt Disney Company. A five-member Board of Supervisors, elected by landowners, governs the district.
District 53 State Rep. Randy Fine announced he already has filed a bill to eliminate the district.
“BREAKING: Disney is a guest in Florida,” he wrote via Twitter. “Today, we remind them. (DeSantis) just expanded the special session so I could file HB3C, which eliminates Reedy Creek Improvement District, a 50-year-old special statute that makes Disney to exempt from laws faced by regular Floridians.”
DeSantis’ announcement came during a press conference in The Villages in which he signed Senate Bill 7044, which reforms higher education in Florida.
“Florida’s public college and university system is No. 1 in the country, because we put students first,” DeSantis said. “Florida’s students deserve a quality, affordable education and don’t need ideological activists and political organizations determining what they should learn. By ushering in strong curriculum transparency requirements and providing accountability for tenured faculty, Florida is standing with students and parents across our state.”