Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference in the Cabinet Room at the conclusion of the 2023 Florida legislative session on Friday, May 5, 2023.

Alicia Devine | Tallahassee Democrat via AP

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed legislation that effectively eliminates development agreements Disney It struck shortly before the governor selected a new board of supervisors to oversee the company’s parks in Orlando.

The development deals are at the center of the latest battle in a year-long war between Disney, one of Florida’s largest employers, and DeSantis, a Republican likely preparing for a presidential campaign in 2024.

The governor’s office confirmed the signature of the bill in a press release which do not contain other information or notes on legislation.

invoice that Passed of the state’s Republican-majority legislature just a day earlier, after members of DeSantis’ board of directors voted to void the deals, claiming they had been illegally beaten. Disney says the contracts are designed to help secure long-term development plans amid rising tensions with DeSantis and his allies.

Members of both parties, including Trump, have criticized DeSantis’ fight with Disney.

“This feud between DeSantis and Disney is insane,” Linda Stewart, a Democrat who represents Florida’s 13th Senate district, told CNBC. “Every day there seems to be another way of trying to make things more difficult for Disney, but all they’re doing is costing taxpayers money to hire lawyers to defend what they’re doing.”

Stewart voted against the latter legislation.

Disney sued DeSantis and members of the board of directors last week, alleging a campaign of political retaliation spearheaded by the governor. The council returned a few days later.

Disney declined to comment.

The spat began more than a year ago, after Disney denounced a Republican-backed Florida bill that would limit segregation discussion of sexual orientation and gender ideology, which critics have dubbed “Don’t Say Like Me.”

Soon after, DeSantis and his allies moved to dissolve the special taxation district that has allowed Walt Disney World to essentially run its operations since the 1960s.

The 25,000-acre estate, formerly called the Reedy Creek Improvement District, was eventually kept intact — but given a new name, and its five-member board of directors replaced with numbers chosen by DeSantis.

In March, the new board of directors accused Disney of crafting 11-hour deals that undermined its authority. Disney says its communications are openly fraudulent, and that it does not undermine the board’s oversight of the region’s operations.

The company’s federal civil lawsuit asks the court to “prevent the state of Florida from weaponizing the government’s power to punish private companies.”

DeSantis signed a bill nullifying the Disney deals on the final day of the 2023 Florida legislature session. The governor, who was resoundingly re-elected in the November midterm elections, is seen as the biggest potential challenger to former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. .

The legislature, which holds Republican supermajorities in both houses, has passed bills that have helped enact DeSantis’ broad conservative agenda — with an eye toward divisive cultural issues that could reverberate in the Republican primary race.

DeSantis has continued his attacks on Disney, even as the drawn-out battle has led some Republicans to question his strategy.

In addition to voiding development deals, the Florida legislature passed a measure that would have the state Department of Transportation conduct inspections of monorails at Walt Disney World. Stewart said Disney hasn’t had any major security issues with its monorail system since 2009, when worker killed After two cars collided. She questioned the timing of the new procedure.

“Obviously it’s about the response,” Stewart said.

Earlier this month, the state board of education approved the expansion of the semester bill that sparked a row with Disney.


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