DeSantis Scores Legal Win Over New Law Revoking Disney’s Special Privileges

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legislation stripping Disney of special tax privileges.

DeSantis signed Senate Bill 4C into law in late April to revoke special tax districts granted to Disney by the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which gave the major entertainment company the same authority and responsibility as a county government. The governor took action following Disney’s uproar over the state’s Parental Rights in Education bill that restricts the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3 classrooms.

In the suit, three residents of Orange and Osceola counties — Michael and Edward Foronda and Vivian Gorsky — argued the law threatens residents with higher taxes, violates a contractual obligation and violates free speech rights, Fox Business reported. Democratic Senate candidate William Sanchez filed the suit last week.

U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga argued the law does not directly apply to the plaintiffs nor has it evidently caused any harm, the outlet reported.

“[The 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,” Altonaga said.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 24: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at The Rosen Shingle Creek on February 24, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. CPAC, which began in 1974, is an annual political conference attended by conservative activists and elected officials. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

She argued their concerns of a possible tax increase is “highly speculative” and yet again does not apply to the plaintiffs, Fox Business reported. (RELATED: ‘Treated On A Pedestal’: Gov. DeSantis Says Disney’s ‘Wokeness’ Will ‘Destroy This Country’) 

Sanchez vowed to refile the suit by next Monday hoping to “achieve justice for Florida taxpayers,” the outlet reported.

Disney’s special privileges included regulating its own taxes, land use, environmental and medical services. The privileges were signed into law by former Florida Gov. Claude Kirk due to lobbying efforts by Disney executives to create a recreation area on 25,000 acres in the two counties.

The entertainment giant clashed with the governor over their strong opposition to the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, signed into law on March 25, calling for its repeal. When he signed the bill, DeSantis said the corporation lied about the legislation, which critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and condemned their calls to repeal it.

“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”

A leaked video showed Disney President Karey Burke announcing the plan to incorporate more “queer leads” in their content.