(Tallahassee) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a bill giving him control of the Autonomous District of Walt Disney World, penalizing the company for its opposition to a law deemed discriminatory against homosexuals.
The bill authorizes Republican governor DeSantis to appoint a five-member council to oversee government services that the Disney District provides at its sprawling theme parks in Florida.
At the signing of the law in Lake Buena Vista, DeSantis said there was “a new mayor in town,” adding that the company would be held accountable.
The news comes as the governor prepares for a potential presidential race with a book release on Tuesday.
Disney’s takeover began last year when the entertainment giant publicly opposed the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bans teachings about sexual orientation and gender identity. .
Mr. DeSantis moved quickly to punish the company, ordering lawmakers in the Republican-dominated Assembly to dissolve the Disney Autonomous District during a special legislative session last year, beginning a closely watched restructuring.
In February, Governor DeSantis called on lawmakers to end state control of the region in another special session called Haste, which signaled the governor’s willingness to exercise state government power. To achieve political goals – a strategy that is likely to continue in the coming months before his potential run for the White House.
The new law subjects the region to different levels of state supervision. Board members are currently appointed by entities controlled by Disney.