Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ crusade against what he has called the “woke” Disney Corporation continued on Thursday when the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill eliminating Disney World from being able to self-govern.
Disney since 1967 has operated within its own special district, collecting its own taxes and providing its own emergency services. This allows Disney to operate and carry out construction projects without being subject to the oversight of a planning commission or other body.
It might not seem like a great idea for the state of Florida to cut the legs out from one of its largest economic drivers, but Republicans are more concerned with culture wars than their constituents’ welfare. The move is nothing more than a way for DeSantis to take revenge on Disney for opposing the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits teachers in kindergarten through third grade from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation with students.
DeSantis, with the help of Tucker Carlson and other allies in conservative media, has sought to portray the entertainment giant as a hotbed of pedophilia, equating opposition of of the anti-LGBTQ law with a desire to “groom” children for sex. The idea that Disney is a tool of the left has spread throughout Congress, as well. Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs posted a graphic on Thursday implying that Disney — a beacon of American capitalism if there ever was one — is communist. It doesn’t need to make sense. The point is that Disney is evil and evil things are Democratic and Democrats are communists.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) April 21, 2022
The legislation to strip Disney of its ability to self-govern passed 68-38, a day after the state Senate approved it 23-16. It will now move to DeSantis’ desk. If he signs it as expected, the legislation will take effect on June 1, 2023.
The bill’s passage came the same day Democrats in the chamber held a sit-in to stop debate over a congressional redistricting map pushed by DeSantis that eliminates three Democrat-controlled seats while creating four Republican ones.
Just before noon, Gainesville Rep. Yvonne Hinson’s microphone was cut after she exceeded her five-minute speaking time, according to the Miami Herald. Jacksonville Rep. Angie Nixon then walked to the floor holding a sign and wearing a t-shirt reading “Stop the Black Attack.” In all, five lawmakers — four Black and one Hispanic — took to the floor, NBC News reported, eventually causing Republicans to leave.
Florida House Democrats, opposed to the GOP-led Legislature’s rubber stamping of Gov DeSantis congressional map that diminishes a Democratic minority-heavy seat— stop the session with a sit-in & a prayer-in
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) April 21, 2022
“Our demands are clear. The legislature needs to draw maps,’’ Nixon said, according to the Herald. “The Republicans in leadership need to come to the Democratic leadership, and we’re going to draw some constitutional maps. Those are our demands and we will not be moved.”
The Republican-controlled legislature had already passed its own maps, but DeSantis vetoed them, claiming that the seat held by Rep. Al Lawson, a Black Democrat, is racially gerrymandered. After DeSantis drew his own, Republicans in the legislature eventually came around and accepted them, even though the nonpartisan Princeton Gerrymandering Project said it’s actually DeSantis’ map that is gerrymandered. The Senate passed the controversial new map on Wednesday. The House followed suit on Thursday, despite the protest from Democrats.
All in all, it was a banner day for Republicans in the Sunshine State.