TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis is expecting a special session next week to consider the proposed state takeover of Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, a spokesman said late Tuesday.
Bryan Griffin, the governor’s press secretary, confirmed that “the governor’s office anticipates a special session next week on Reedy Creek and other items,” but he would not disclose what those other items would be.
A public notice on Osceola County’s website in early January announced the Legislature would take up legislation “increasing state oversight, accountability, and transparency” of the district, which gives Disney quasi-government control over its theme park properties at Disney World in Orlando.
The Legislature and DeSantis dissolved Reedy Creek last year amid Disney’s dispute with the governor over what critics call the “don’t say gay” bill.
DeSantis blasted Disney as a “woke” corporation, and Disney halted its political giving in the state.
Under the proposed legislation, “Disney will no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes,” DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske said at the time the announcement was posted. “Imposing a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents.”
No Reedy Creek bill had been filed as of Tuesday night.
Reedy Creek, which encompasses the Disney World property, has the power to issue tax-free bonds, levy taxes, oversee land use and environmental protections and provide essential public services.
The district, created by the state in 1968, is overseen by a five-member Board of Supervisors. As the primary landowner, Disney gets to select who sits on the board.
The Legislature has a full calendar of committee hearings already planned for next week on several bills, including permit-less carry gun legislation announced by House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, as well as a bill to shorten the time homeowners would be allowed to file construction lawsuits.