Reedy Creek Improvement District

Reedy Creek Bill Headed to Governor Ron DeSantis After Passing In the Florida Senate

The Florida Senate has passed a bill that would give Florida control of the Reedy Creek Improvement District and also rename it, among other things. This comes after the House of Representatives in Florida passed the bill earlier this week. The next stop before it becomes law will be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who has been championing passage of this bill.

Once Governor DeSantis signs the bill it will become law effective immediately. The name of Reedy Creek Improvement District will be changed to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. This will begin a two year time of transition for the district to change its name on any contracts, forms, records, or other paperwork that currently says Reedy Creek Improvement District.

The other major change will be the makeup of the board. Comprised of five members, the board will be nominated by the Governor and then approved by the legislature. This will effectively give Florida control over the district. It will also effectively block Disney, the landowner, from having any say in the governing body where it resides.

House Speaker Paul Renner said, “They’re not in charge of themselves anymore.”

“As the Governor said, ‘There’s a new sheriff in town.’ The people’s elected representative, the Governor, is making those appointments, so they’ll be governed in a way that levels the playing field with other entities,” Renner said Friday at a press conference.

On the other side, some legislators have raised concerns over the makeup of this new board. There are fears it could lead to corruption. Rep. Anna Eskamani argues that the bill doesn’t necessarily fix things but replaces one problem with another. She expressed concerns over DeSantis picking all the board members. “There’s clear consensus that the original board makeup of Reedy Creek was very problematic,” Eskamani said. “We’re taking one problematic swamp and we’re creating another swamp by allowing for one person to appoint all five positions.” She also noted that under the new system Disney maintains its tax breaks.

Eskamami has been critical of the bill in other ways. She tried to add two more board members to it and include automatically the mayors of Kissimmee, Orlando and Orange County as well as the chair of Osceola County Board of Commissioners. She also tried to make an amendment to change the name of the district to “Florida’s Attempt to Silence Critical and Independent Speech and Thought.” This was an acronym…

“This is an attempt to silence critical, independent speech and thought in Florida. And we’ve already seen a chilling effect of businesses across the state and across the country,” Eskamani said Wednesday. “I just don’t think it’s Democratic. I think it’s anti-freedom.”

The bill passed the Florida Senate by a vote of 26-9. It will go to the Governor’s desk for signature next. Disney has not released a statement on the passage of this bill at this point. It did release a statement earlier in the week when it was introduced that seemed to indicate the company is taking a wait and see approach and attempting to be diplomatic. With the passage of the bill, it is possible that this will change.

Daps Magic will continue to follow this story and provide updates as they become available.