(Liberty Bell) – After Disney decided to position themselves higher than American voters and democracy itself, Florida legislators took action and knocked the company down a few pegs.
Thanks to Gov. DeSantis and his bold efforts to put Disney in their place, legislators voted to dissolve the special district set up for the sole purpose of benefiting the Walt Disney Company, which, by the way, is headquartered in California.
Democrats have been desperately fighting for Disney but one federal judge has just poured water on their efforts.
Legislation to dissolve Walt Disney World’s self-governing body, the Reedy Creek Improvement District, was passed by the GOP-led state House on April 21 and signed by DeSantis a day later.
Statement from The Walt Disney Company on signing of Florida legislation: pic.twitter.com/UVI7Ko3aKS
— Walt Disney Company (@WaltDisneyCo) March 28, 2022
The district was established in 1967 to enable Disney to build the flagship theme park and it essentially “has allowed Walt Disney World to govern itself,” according to WOFL-TV in Orlando.
That freedom and all the benefits the company has enjoyed, however, will come to an end by June 2023 when the law eliminating the 25,000-acre district in Orange and Osceola counties goes into effect.
This is a complicated matter, however, that will affect taxpayers in these counties. Three residents of those counties filed a complaint claiming the law threatens residents with higher taxes and violates a contractual obligation, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The residents also claim the law threatens free speech rights by retaliating against Disney for its activism in fighting the Parental Rights in Education Law. Though Disney employees are not elected by anyone and thus should not be interfering with legislation worked on by elected representatives of the people.
Miami lawyer William Sanchez filed the lawsuit last week in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Sanchez is also a Democratic candidate for the US Senate.
One of the concerns for residents is Disney’s $1 billion in bond debt. Understandably they’re concerned that they will have to shoulder that debt in taxes upon the dissolution of Reedy Creek.
WDW News Today reported that it is possible the bond debt could be transferred to residents which could lead to a property tax increase of about $2,200.
However, US District Judge Cecilia Altonaga, a George W. Bush appointee, dismissed the lawsuit Tuesday. She asserted the federal court lacked standing over state issues and pointed to the tentative nature of the plaintiff’s claims.
She ruled that the law would have no direct effect on the plaintiff’s ability to exercise their freedom of speech rights.
She wrote that they “do not plausibly allege they have suffered any concrete injury as a result of the alleged violation of Disney’s First Amendment rights, and nothing in the Complaint shows Plaintiffs have a close relationship with Disney,” the Sentinel reported.
The new law “does not apply to them, they do not allege direct harm as a result of the challenged law, and they do not plausibly allege any credible threat of direct harm in the future,” the judge said.
Sanchez does not appear to be deterred, however, and said he plans to file another complaint on behalf of the plaintiffs, according to Fox News.
“This is just the beginning of the battle, as we are attempting to achieve justice for Florida taxpayers,” he said in a statement.
Perhaps if the complaint was just focused on the bond debt potentially falling to taxpayers he might have a case but the issue of free speech being violated is absolutely laughable and preposterous.
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