A federal judge has booted a lawsuit filed against Gov. Ron DeSantis over the pending dissolution of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District. This home-rule administrative entity allows the entertainment giant to govern itself.
U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga dismissed the case because DeSantis’ critics were literally making a federal case out of the situation.
Last month DeSantis and Republican lawmakers ended Disney’s 55-year-old self-government provision after the company criticized the Parental Rights in Education law.
The law bans school districts and classroom teachers from implementing lesson plans based on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3.
Disney was silent about the bill as it went through the Legislature. After it passed, pressure mounted on the company from its LGBT staff and left-wing activists. The company eventually said the law should have never passed and vowed to get it repealed or overturned in court.
In reply, the state dissolved Reedy Creek. That takes effect in July 2023, barring any changes.
As WESH reported, the lawsuit “accused DeSantis and other state officials of violating the constitutional rights of taxpayers along with the First Amendment rights of Disney.”
In court records, the plaintiffs asserted the dissolution of Reedy Creek would leave them and other taxpayers saddled with the costs of Disney’s debt as the upkeep of Reedy Creek’s infrastructure and fire service.
Judge Altonaga essentially said it was not a federal problem.
“They allege what is in essence a First Amendment retaliation claim on Disney’s behalf. And First Amendment retaliation claims do not qualify for watered-down third-party standing standards,” the judge noted in her ruling.
According to Fox Business, Altonaga, who former President George W. Bush appointed, also said the lawsuit was premature.
She wrote that the plaintiffs argued they had a right to sue because eliminating Reedy Creek “might result in financial harm to plaintiffs by virtue of a tax increase that has not yet been enacted.”
“That indirect and highly speculative alleged injury cannot support federal jurisdiction. … Again — it is worth emphasizing — the bill does not apply to plaintiffs at all,” she added.
DeSantis has said the taxpayers will not assume Disney’s debt or tax issues.
His spokeswoman, Christina Pushaw, told the website Deadline that was still the case.
“The local residents of Orange and Osceola counties will not have to bear the burden of Disney’s debt, as the governor has stated. And, there is no scenario where the state would inherit Disney’s debt – this is misinformation,” Pushaw said.
“On a general note, the suggestions from those who are quarterbacking the possibilities here, are their own wishful forecasting. In other words, they are hoping – with no basis in reality – that this will end in some sort of taxpayer or state burden that partisan critics can use against the governor. In reality, this opportunity can, and should be utilized to generate more taxes from Disney, as the governor has said.”
Visit Tampafp.com for Politics, Tampa Area Local News, Sports, and National Headlines. Support journalism by clicking here to our GoFundMe or sign up for our free newsletter by clicking here.
Android Users, Click Here To Download The Free Press App And Never Miss A Story. Follow Us On Facebook Here Or Twitter Here.
Login To Facebook From Your Browser To Leave A Comment