I should disclose right upfront that I own a few shares of Walt Disney. If you go a million times or so, I should get another penny in dividends. So you need to get moving.
The Legislature understands how important Disney is. If they stop giving money to the campaigns, and stop supporting the governor, then something must be done.
So this recent special session came in handy. The original purpose was to gerrymander new congressional districts. I for one do not lament the Corrine Brown district, going up the St. Johns River to Jacksonville, then turning down U.S. 301 to Ocala. Two hundred miles end to end, it was the opposite of compact and contiguous.
This year’s gerrymander is done, and really, it does not look all that bad. Yes, there are a couple of silly-looking districts, but that is just to pack the minority party. Otherwise some districts might be competitive.
However, while the Legislature was there, they decided to speak out on Disney and reduced campaign contributions. They came up with two anti-Disney bills. I will talk about one now and the other later.
You may remember last year’s social-media bill, codified at § 501.2041, providing that websites would be required to host nasty content against their wills. It contained an interesting Disney exception: Companies owning big amusement parks were exempt.
Well, that bill, including its Disney provision, was held unconstitutional even before it could go into effect. That does not mean that § 501.2041 is not cluttering the statute books; it simply cannot be enforced.
That Disney provision had an important purpose. It recognized that Disney contributed generously to legislative and gubernatorial campaigns, possibly contrary to the corporation’s best interests. It was certainly contrary to the interests of many employees and stockholders.
This year, we had more performative nonsense in Tallahassee. They passed the Don’t Say Gay bill, and the Snowflake Protection Act. Then, Disney turned off the tap. That got some attention.
In a fit of pique identified as Senate Bill 6-C, or “Don’t Say Disney,” the Legislature determined to strike out the Disney exception from the unconstitutional bill. The governor signed it right away.
It has absolutely no effect, since the whole thing is enjoined. Still, this latest bit of performative nonsense does tell us what the legislators and governor are thinking — cut off our donations and we will have revenge!
— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.