Florida House Speaker Says “Disney Misled Floridians” After It Loses Self-Governance Status

Photo by Alyssa Eakin on Unsplash

Florida’s House Speaker Chris Sprowls explained on the heels of a successful bill that stripped Disney of special legal status in the state that the company had “misled Floridians” over the nature of a controversial sex ed bill.

Earlier this year, the state GOP drafted a bill that would restrict sexuality education in public schools but was slammed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill despite the legislation making no mention of homosexuality specifically.

The bill, which was signed into law as the Parental Rights in Education Act by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in late march, banned sexuality instruction in grades three and younger and restricts it to age-appropriate material for older grades.

Disney, which was initially criticized by progressives for failing to make a public comment on the bill, ultimately ended up denouncing the legislation and vowing to combat it.

Last week, DeSantis signed into law a bill that stripped Disney of its special governing status which it has enjoyed in the state since 1968 due to the fact that its property sprawls two counties.

Many have criticized GOP lawmakers for what appears to be a political attack on a private company, but according to Sprowls, it was time for Disney to “be treated like any other company in the state.”

“Here in the state of Florida since 1968, I’ll say that again, since the 1968 constitution, when Lyndon Johnson was president, there’s been a six special taxing districts that nobody’s looked at. Only one of them is Disney,” he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week.

“It’s about time that Florida went and looked at these special taxing districts, would have this awesome power,” he continued. “I mean, Disney, a corporation, has the power from the state to build their own nuclear power plant should they decide to do so.”

It is true that Disney holds incredible sway in the state of Florida as a major employer, revenue earner, and taxpaying entity. Republican lawmakers argue that the time for the company to be stripped of its special governing status are long overdue considering the extent to which they’ve opted to get involved in local politics, particularly, as Sprowls noted, their capacity to form public opinion on local legislation.

He noted that “after they came out and said what they said” about the Parental Rights in Education Act, “they misled Floridians.”

“They misled Americans about what the Florida Legislature did to protect kids in kindergarten through third grade.”

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