The Reedy Creek Improvement District would receive a new name and regulations under a new bill introduced during a special session in the Florida Legislature that began today.
- After a tumultuous back and forth between the Reedy Creek Improvement District and the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, a special session in the state’s Legislature began today and will see a bill introduced to address the future of the area.
- As the Orlando Sentinel reports, among other decisions, the bill would see the renaming of the governing body of the Walt Disney World Resort if passed.
- The new bill would rename Reedy Creek as the “Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.”
- Outstanding debt, contracts, and tax collection would not be affected, according to the bill, and would not be transferred to local taxpayers as was originally feared by some familiar with the matter.
- The bill would also change how the district’s landowners elect board members as Disney would previously handpick the board members of Reedy Creek as they were the primary landowners.
- Now, if the bill passes, the governor will appoint those members, subject to confirmation by the Florida senate
- Furthermore, any person who has worked for or held a contractual relationship with a theme park within the past three years is prohibited from serving on the new board.
- This special session is the culmination after a very public feud with the Walt Disney Company and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, which he called a “Woke” corporation, after the company opposed the controversial bill DeSantis approved, commonly referred to by opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
- Last year, the Governor urged the Legislature to dissolve the special district that Disney put into place, but has until June 1st to replace or revise it. DeSantis has also said that he wants the state to take control of the district, “making sure that Disney doesn’t have self-governing status anymore,” while also ensuring that taxpayers are protected from paying the district’s $1 billion in outstanding debts. Adding that, “We will have a great framework in place to bring some sense to this, “It is not right to put one company in this special status.”
- In a statement, Walt Disney World Resort president Jeff Vahle said of the development, “We are monitoring the progression of the draft legislation, which is complex given the long history of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Disney works under a number of different models and jurisdictions around the world, and regardless of the outcome, we remain committed to providing the highest quality experience for the millions of guests who visit each year.”