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Judge dismisses lawsuit against DeSantis over Reedy Creek dissolution

The law eliminates the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the 55-year-old Disney government is known, as well as a handful of other similar districts by June 2023.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A lawsuit filed against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his decision to dissolve Disney's self-governing district Reedy Creek was dismissed by a federal judge.

The lawsuit was brought by three residents living in Orange and Osceola counties against DeSantis, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee and Florida Director of the Department of Revenue Jim Zingale. 

U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga explained in a report that she threw the suit out because it's an issue that falls in the state's jurisdiction and the law won't go into effect until July 2023, among other reasons, according to the court filing. "None of the [residents'] claims is ripe," Altonaga said.

The complainants in the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in a Miami federal courthouse, claim the effort to silence Disney will "result in significant injury to taxpayers, threatens the loss of thousands of jobs," the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

In conclusion, the judge stated their claims were not "sufficiently mature," nor "the issues sufficiently defined and concrete, to permit effective decision-making by the court."

DeSantis signed into law a bill to dissolve the private government Walt Disney World controls on its property, according to the report. 

The law eliminates the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the 55-year-old Disney government is known, as well as a handful of other similar districts by June 2023. The measure does allow for the districts to be reestablished, leaving an avenue to renegotiate its future.

The lawsuit claims the law was implemented to punish Disney after the company’s CEO, Bob Chapek, spoke out about the Parental Rights in Education Act, or what critics call "Don't Say Gay." 

“Ron DeSantis has been clear on his intended punishment of Disney, although he claims the elimination of special districts will not affect central Florida taxpayers,” The Wrap reported. “Taxpayer lawsuits such as this one are meant to check and restrict official government misconduct.”

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