In a statement issued to its bondholders last Thursday, Reedy Creek pointed out that the 1967 law also includes a pledge from Florida to its bondholders. The law states that Florida “will not in any way impair the rights or remedies of the holders … until all such bonds together with interest thereon, and all costs and expenses in connection with any act or proceeding by or on behalf of such holders , are fully met and discharged.”
Due to that pledge, Reedy Creek said it expects to continue business as usual.
“In light of the State of Florida’s pledge to the District’s bondholders, Reedy Creek expects to explore its options while continuing its present operations, including levying and collecting its ad valorem taxes and collecting its utility revenues, paying debt service on its ad valorem tax bonds and utility revenue bonds, complying with its bond covenants and operating and maintaining its properties,” Reedy Creek said.
CNN has reached out to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s office for comment on Reedy Creek’s statement.
The new law is just two pages long and avoids any discussion of details about how to unwind a half-century of infrastructure deals, nor does it lay out the next steps in the complicated process. Lawmakers in neighboring Orange and Osceola counties have expressed concerns that they will be stuck with paying off Reedy Creek’s debts and will have to significantly raise property taxes on residents.
How we got here
The law, titled the “Parental Rights in Education” bill and labeled by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, prohibits schools from teaching children about sexual orientation or gender identity “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate.” The legislation also allows parents to bring laws against a school district for potential violations.
The law’s vague language and the threat of parental laws have raised fears that it will lead to discrimination against LGBTQ students and will have a chilling effect on classroom discussion. DeSantis’ spokesperson Christina Pushaw, however, said the legislation would protect kids from “groomers,” a slang term for pedophiles, and described those who oppose the law as “probably groomers.”
Disney CEO Bob Chapek initially declined to condemn the law but reversed course after facing employee criticism. A company spokesperson released a statement last month stating its goal is for the law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts.
“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” the statement said. The company said it was “dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”
Earlier last week, DeSantis challenged lawmakers to unravel the 55-year-old Reedy Creek Improvement Act as part of a special legislative session. The impact of that legislation — as well as its legality — remains unclear.