‘Don’t Say Gay’ feud advances with new proposed legislation

Jan 6, 2023, 1:46 PM | Updated: 1:55 pm

FILE - Performers dressed as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck entertai...

FILE - Performers dressed as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck entertain visitors at Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on April 18, 2022. Florida lawmakers will move to increase state control of Walt Disney World's private government, according to a notice published Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, that marks the latest development in a feud over a law critics call “Don't Say Gay.” (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

(AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida lawmakers will move to increase state control of Walt Disney World’s private government, according to a notice published Friday, the latest development in a feud over a law critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.”

The notice posted on the Osceola County website says the Republican-controlled statehouse will take up legislation changing the structure and powers of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the 55-year-old Disney government is known.

A bill has not yet been filed detailing exactly what changes would be under consideration. The notice serves as a procedural step in what has become a closely watched process between Disney and Florida.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last year signed legislation that would dissolve the Disney government in June 2023, a moved aimed at punishing the company for its public opposition to a law that bars instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and lessons deemed not age appropriate.

Additionally, Disney said it would suspend political donations in the state and that it would support organizations working to oppose the education law.

DeSantis and statehouse Republicans slammed Disney, saying the entertainment giant had become a purveyor of so-called woke ideologies that are inappropriate for children.

The squabble marked a rare moment of discord between the state and Disney, one of Florida’s largest employers and a major political donor. It also provided another front in an ongoing culture war that has made DeSantis one of the nation’s most popular Republicans.

The creation of Reedy Creek district was instrumental in Disney’s decision to build near Orlando in the 1960s. Having a separate government allows the company to provide zoning, fire protection, utilities and infrastructure services on its sprawling property.

The language of Friday’s notice aligns with assurances Republican lawmakers and DeSantis have made regarding the district’s future, including a pledge that the district’s debts and bond obligations would not fall to local county governments.

The notice also says the legislation would intend to increase state accountability of the district, change how its governing body is selected, and revise permitting rules and the district’s regulatory frameworks, among other things.

“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,” Taryn Fenske, a spokeswoman for DeSantis, said in a written statement. “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.”

The Legislature is set to meet for its next regular session in March.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

1 hour ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

2 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

3 days ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

3 days ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

4 days ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.


Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

‘Don’t Say Gay’ feud advances with new proposed legislation