Florida Senate Passes Bill to Reclaim Control of Former Reedy Creek District From Disney’s Development Agreement

The Florida Senate passed a bill late on Wednesday that would essentially allow the board for the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District to retake control of the district from Disney. This comes in the wake of the discovery by Florida officials of a Development Agreement that was signed by Disney and the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, allowing for Disney to control much of what happens in the District moving forward.

The vote came on the same day that Disney sued Governor Ron DeSantis, board members for the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, and others for waging a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power” against the company.

The bill, SB 1604, passed in a 27-13 vote. It will go to the House of Representatives next. If it passes the House and then gets signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, it would nullify Disney’s development agreement. It would do so by prohibiting such agreements if they’re enacted within three months of laws that modify how special district board members are elected. The bill would also give boards four months to review development agreements after taking office and decide if they should be adopted.

The bill comes as the conflict between Disney and DeSantis continues to escalate. After earlier this month threatening hotel taxes, property tax reassessments, road tolls, and potentially even a prison in the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, the board for the district passed a resolution that it says nullifies the Development Agreement that was made by Disney and the former Reedy Creek Improvement District.

At this point it appears that the Governor and his supporters will continue to try everything that is possible to beat Disney. He argued that the lawsuit is “political” and “without merit.” DeSantis said during a press conference in Israel “I think they filed in Tallahassee for a reason, because they’re trying to generate some district-court decision,’’ he said. “But we’re very confident on the law.”

At this point, the decision on the law is now in the hands of a court in Tallahassee. This is a court that DeSantis will have to face when he returns to the United States. In the coming days and weeks, the lawsuit will move forward as will SB 1604. The board for the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District will also be continuing to make moves to push back against Disney as well.

Daps Magic will continue to follow this story and provide updates as they become available. What do you think about SB 1604? How do you think it will play out? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.