TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis jokingly offered political asylum to cartoon characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse on Tuesday as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis escalated his feud with the Walt Disney Company.
As lawmakers convened for a special session on redistricting, DeSantis issued a proclamation that allows the GOP-controlled legislature to take up bills that would strip Disney of its self-governing status.
“We will grant Mickey and Minnie full asylum in Colorado,” Polis jokingly said in response to the news.
The weeks-long feud between DeSantis and the entertainment company began in March when Disney denounced the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, under pressure from its employees.
“I am announcing today that we are expanding the call of what they are going to be considering this week. And so, yes they will be considering the congressional map, but they also will be considering termination of all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968, and that includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District,” DeSantis said at a news conference Tuesday.
The governor is targeting the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, a 1967 law that created a special district allowing Disney to self-govern. The Reedy Creek Improvement District covers about 25,000 acres in Orange and Osceola counties, and provides its own government services such as zoning, fire protection, utilities and infrastructure. It was has the right to issue bonds, assess taxes and enforce its own safety codes, according to The Associated Press.
“Other developers have to play by different rules, Universal Studios has to play by different rules and so Disney really does have an unfair business advantage,” said Rollins College Professor Emeritus Richard Foglesong, author of “Married to the Mouse,” which examines the Reedy Creek District.
“So, it’s really an old Florida story where a developer comes to town, comes to the state and says they’re going to do something, they want some guarantees in return, gets them and then doesn’t do that,” Foglesong told News Channel 8.
Rep. Dan Daley (D-Coral Springs) told NBC News the Disney legislation was a “distraction” from real issues.
“We should be fixing property insurance, but instead we’re in a pissing match with Disney and passing the governor’s unconstitutional maps,” Daley said.
“I don’t think we as a state should be vindictive and say, ‘Hey, whenever we don’t like what a company does that we should take away anything we’ve done for them in the past,'” he added.