Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a bill that strips Walt Disney Co of its self-governing authority in the state in retaliation for its opposition to a new law that limits the teaching of LGBTQ issues in schools.
The state’s Republican-controlled legislature on Thursday gave its final approval to the bill. It eliminates the special tax district created in 1967 that allows Disney to self-govern a 25,000-acre tract in the Orlando area, where it operates four theme parks, two water parks and 175 miles of roadway.
While the financial impact on the company and the state is uncertain, the change could alter how Disney operates its sprawling Central Florida empire and sour the close relationship it has enjoyed with the state for more than 50 years.
DeSantis is a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate who has courted conservative voters on issues such as immigration, abortion and LGBTQ rights.
With his latest move against Disney, DeSantis is attempting to burnish his conservative credentials by showing he is willing to stand up to what he described as a “woke” company based in California that does not share Florida’s values.