Florida Governor Ron DeSantis today signed House Bill 9-B, ending decades of Disney World's self-governing status and special privileges – and establishing a new state-controlled district accountable to the residents of the state.
"Allowing a corporation to control its own government is bad policy, especially when the corporation makes decisions that impact an entire region," said DeSantis. "This legislation ends Disney's self-governing status, makes Disney live under the same laws as everybody else, and ensures that Disney pays its debts and fair share of taxes."
"Today the corporate kingdom finally comes to an end," DeSantis said at the bill signing ceremony in Lake Buena Vista. "There's a new sheriff in town, and accountability will be the order of the day."
HB 9-B renames the Reedy Creek Improvement District to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District; and ends Disney's exemption from state building code, fire prevention code, and regulatory reviews and approval. In short, Disney will now be treated like other theme parks in the state.
Just prior to signing the measure, DeSantis urged those in attendance to check their watches so they could remember "what time the corporate kingdom came to an end."
Discussions about repealing the Reedy Creek agreement began roughly one year ago when Disney inserted itself into the political scene on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, opposing Gov. DeSantis' Parental Rights in Education legislation. That law protects young children from being sexually groomed in public school classrooms; Disney, however, campaigned against the law, describing it inaccurately as the "Don't Say Gay" bill.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Disney in April 2022 there would be pushback from conservatives:
"These private businesses ought to mind to their own business and get out of picking up the agenda for the woke Left …. They should do the things that they're supposed to do to create prosperity and wealth. That's the mission set. And when they don't, those of us who have conservative beliefs should demand that they begin to change their ways."