DeSantis moving to take over Disney district, appoint new board members

By Jen Krausz on
 February 9, 2023

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) is taking steps to bring the district in Florida that houses Disney World under state control, irking many in the area but making others happy.

DeSantis had threatened to dissolve The Reedy Creek Improvement District, which holds $1 billion in bond debt, but the legislature weighed in and decided that having the governor appoint members of the board and making the district come under state oversight would be less of a burden to neighboring Orange and Osceola Counties.

The new bill introduced this week does just that and would prevent anyone who has worked at a theme park or had a contract with one in the past three years from being a board member to avoid conflicts of interest.

Critics said the restriction could also prevent people with the necessary expertise from being on the board and lead to worse management of the district.

The bill also takes away the district's ability to own and operate an airport, stadium, convention center or nuclear power plant, if it should want to do so.

The impetus to dissolve the district's independent government began after Disney opposed the state's so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill last year, and the legislature passed a bill that said the government would need to be dissolved by June 2023.