DeSantis strikes heavy blow against Disney after signing new land-use bill

 May 6, 2023

The fight between Disney and the state of Florida, under Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), just took another wild turn this week. 

According to the Washington Examiner, DeSantis signed SB 1604 into law on Friday, which nullifies a previous agreement between Reedy Creek Improvement District board and Disney that would have undermined the state's authority.

The nullification language came in the form of an amendment added to a land-use bill, and was quickly signed by the governor after the state legislature adjourned on Friday.

The bill is the latest in the fight between DeSantis and Disney.

The amendment

The Examiner explained:

The bill was amended last month to include a provision to allow "an independent special district" to be "precluded from complying" with agreements made in the three months before the modifying of laws on how the governing body selects members. The amendment does not directly name the former Reedy Creek Improvement District or the new Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

"An independent special district is precluded from complying with the terms of any development agreement, and any other agreement for which the development agreement serves in whole or part as consideration, executed within 3 months preceding the effective date of a law modifying the manner of selecting members of the governing body of the independent special district from election to appointment or from appointment to election," Florida's new law reads.

It added: "The newly elected or appointed governing body of the independent special district shall review within 4 months of taking office any development agreement and any other agreement for which the development agreement serves in whole or part as consideration and, after such review, shall vote on whether to seek readoption of such agreement."

In other words, the new governing body will now have the power to readopt the previous agreements within four months of its formation.

Reedy Creek might have scored the first win in counter-fight, but the new law laid a massive blow to its strategy.

Knockout blow

DeSantis previously vowed to use a "a strong one-two punch" to take down the last-minute agreement Reedy Creek made with Disney, which is exactly what the bill did.

Additionally, there are ongoing lawsuits and counter-lawsuits between Disney and Florida, making for one giant, complicated legal mess.

DeSantis originally took on Disney last year after the entertainment company injected itself into politics, publicly denouncing DeSantis' landmark Parental Rights in Education Act bill.

Only time will tell who ends up on top after the lawsuits settle, but it's clear that DeSantis isn't backing down, and intends to emerge victorious. If he doesn't, his opponents will certainly use the situation against him if he decides to make a 2024 White House run.

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