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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently issued a proclamation calling on Florida’s legislature to reconsider legislation permitting independent special districts in the upcoming Special Session.
As reported by Spectrum News, the specific bills, HB 3-C and SB 4-C, specifically address “any independent special district established by a special act prior to the date of ratification of the Florida Constitution on November 5, 1968. and which was not reestablished, re-ratified, or otherwise reconstituted by a special act or general law after November 5, 28 1968.”
In Florida, Disney World sits within the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Disney established Reedy Creek pursuant to the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, an old state law allowing Disney to create an independent special district and self-govern Disney property.
Reedy Creek operates its own fire protection, security services, utilities, and planning. The landowners also select the Board of Supervisors. In essence, the law gives Disney broad powers to control what happens on Disney property.
As recently reported by Florida Politics:
“The 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act created the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID), establishing local government-like operations in Bay Creek and Reedy Creek. The district effectively taxes the land and operates government services with that revenue, allowing for self-government.”
DeSantis recently announced support for repealing the law. He has strongly fought back against Disney’s public opposition to Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill (HB 1557) and Disney’s “woke” policies.
“I think with (Disney’s) conduct … they’ve lost a lot of the pull that they used to have. And honestly, I think that’s a good thing for our state because the state should be governed by the best interests of the people. You should not have one organization that is able to dictate policy in all these different realms.”
As DeSantis noted in the proclamation, the Florida Constitution “prohibits special laws granting privileges to private corporations.”
According to the governor, it is time to review these independent districts to make sure that they are adequately serving the public interest.
Mr. Hakim is an attorney and columnist. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker, and other online publications. He is also a regular guest on OANN’s Tipping Point, and has appeared on Newsmax, The Dave Weinbaum Show, and Real America’s Voice.