The battle between Governor Ron DeSantis (FL) and Disney just got more complex thanks to the signing of a particular bill.
For context, Disney had entered into some agreements with the old board of the Reedy Creek Improvement District (now called the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District) prior to the new board taking over. According to the new board, the agreements at issue reportedly “strip” them of much of their power. The new board has already declared the agreements invalid for a few reasons, which is part of what sparked Disney to sue DeSantis and the new board, and the new board has since filed a lawsuit of its own against Disney. But now the agreements have been addressed by something else.
DeSantis had indicated that while the board would likely declare the Disney agreements (a Development Agreement and Restrictive Covenants) invalid, that could spark litigation (which it has), so these agreements would also be tackled through a legislative amendment. This came in the form of Senate Bill 1604. An amendment to that bill, related to Development Agreements, was swiftly approved and the bill was then passed by the Senate and Florida House of Representatives.
As of May 5th, the bill has officially been signed into law by Governor DeSantis.
So what does the bill do? Well, the part that impacts Disney comes in the form of a subsection that’ll be added to Florida Statute 189.031. This amendment says that an independent special district is prohibited from complying with the terms of “any development agreement, or any other agreement for which the development agreement serves in whole or part as consideration, which is executed within 3 months preceding the effective date of a law modifying the manner of selecting members of the governing body of the independent special district from election to appointment or from appointment to election.”
In non-legal terms, if a development agreement is signed within 3 months of a law that modifies the way a special district’s board is selected, the special district CANNOT comply with that development agreement.
Instead, the new governing body of the independent special district must review the development agreement within 4 months of taking office and then they’ll vote on whether to “seek readoption of such agreement.”
The law officially takes effect starting July 1st. The subsection is set to last until July 1st, 2028 unless the Legislature decides to save it from repeal.
So how does this impact Disney? Well, the Development Agreement at issue was officially approved by the old Reedy Creek board on February 8th, 2023. That falls within 3 months of the law that later changed how the District’s Board of Supervisors is selected (when it went from elected to appointed by the Governor).
Under this new provision signed into law by DeSantis, the new board would be prohibited from enforcing that Development Agreement and likely the Restrictive Covenants if they’re considered to be an “agreement for which the development agreement serves in whole or part as consideration.” The board is then required to review the Development Agreement and see if they want to readopt it. The new board has already declared the agreements to be invalid, so this just serves (essentially) as a SECOND way of invalidating the Development Agreement and preventing the board from having to comply with it.
It’s possible Disney may amend its existing federal lawsuit to include some claims or allegations related to this law (now that it has been signed by DeSantis) to tie it into their overall argument that DeSantis has waged a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power” against Disney. We’ll be on the lookout for updates there.
Another bill potentially affecting Disney is still pending. House Bill 1305 contains some language that would impact monorail inspections. That bill has passed the House and Senate but is pending DeSantis’ signature. We’ll keep an eye out for more updates.
For more about Disney’s lawsuit against DeSantis, click here. And check back for the latest updates.
Click here to learn about the Board’s lawsuit against Disney
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The post NEWS: Gov. DeSantis Signs Bill to VOID Disney’s Reedy Creek Agreements first appeared on the disney food blog.