There’s a new wrinkle within the ongoing tussle between Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and the Walt Disney Firm.
On Friday, Mr. DeSantis signed a invoice into legislation giving a board that oversees authorities providers at Disney World the flexibility to void growth agreements that had already been permitted for the resort.
At the very least for now, the brand new legislation is a comparatively minor growth within the ongoing battle between Mr. DeSantis and Disney over the potential enlargement of the corporate’s 25,000-acre theme park resort close to Orlando. That’s as a result of Disney and the board have already sued one another over the event agreements; the matter is actually on maintain, awaiting to be addressed by the judicial system.
Disney declined to touch upon Friday.
The event agreements had been permitted by a earlier, Disney-controlled iteration of the board. The present board, made up of members appointed by Mr. DeSantis this yr, contends that the agreements are unlawful, and voted to nullify them.
Final week, Disney sued the board and Mr. DeSantis in federal courtroom, claiming “a focused marketing campaign of presidency retaliation.” On Monday, the board filed a lawsuit in state courtroom as a part of its effort to void the agreements.
The Florida Legislature handed the invoice on Thursday. It didn’t initially contain Disney. As launched in early March, the invoice’s goal was to replace necessities for complete land use planning by municipalities. On the urging of Mr. DeSantis, the half relevant to Disney was added final month. Democrats opposed the modification, saying that it set a harmful precedent for state interference with particular person firm contracts.
“Past the Disney drama, let’s simply speak concerning the notion of canceling a contract that you simply don’t like,” Anna Eskamani, a Democratic state consultant from the Orlando space, stated in the course of the debate.
The battle between Mr. DeSantis and Disney began in March of final yr, when Disney joined different firms in criticizing a contentious state training legislation that, amongst different issues, prohibits classroom dialogue of sexual orientation and gender id for younger college students. (Opponents labeled it “Don’t Say Homosexual.”) Mr. DeSantis and his Republican allies within the Florida Legislature instantly began to assault Disney as a “woke” firm and commenced efforts to limit its long-held autonomy within the state.
They zeroed in on a particular tax district created in 1967 that successfully turned Disney World into its personal county. It gave Disney uncommon management over fireplace safety, policing, waste administration, highway upkeep, bond issuance — and, crucially, the planning of actual property growth.
In February, lawmakers stripped management of the district’s five-member board from Disney and handed it to the governor. When Mr. DeSantis’s appointees reported for obligation, nevertheless, they had been incensed to find that the departing board had permitted sure growth agreements, limiting the brand new board’s energy for many years to return.
One of many agreements offers Disney the flexibility to construct 14,000 further resort rooms, a fifth theme park and three smaller parks. The opposite restricts the usage of abutting land; no strip golf equipment, for example. Disney World already has 4 theme parks, two water parks, 18 Disney-owned motels, a shopping center and a 220-acre sports activities advanced.