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Florida lawmakers approve bill to dissolve Disney World’s self government

The vote hands Gov. DeSantis a victory in his feud with Disney over its opposition to a bill that was dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law

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Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company - Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Inc.

TALLAHASSEE – A bill that would dissolve Walt Disney World’s 55-year-old self-government by June of 2023 was given final passage Thursday by Florida’s Republican-controlled state House of Representatives.

The vote hands Republican Governor Ron DeSantis a victory in his feud with the entertainment conglomerate over its opposition to a bill that was dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

“Disney and other woke corporations won’t get away with peddling their unchecked pressure campaigns any longer,” the Governor wrote in a fundraising pitch emailed release Wednesday. “If we want to keep the Democrat machine and their corporate lapdogs accountable, we have to stand together now.”

The Associated Press noted that the bill passed by the House on Thursday would eliminate the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the Disney self-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. It now moves to DeSantis’ desk to be signed into law.

Insidethemagic.com’s news writer and reporter Luke Dammann noted this situation over Disney’s self-government, while complex, seemed fairly cut-and-dry until reporters started to do the numbers and figure out what the termination of the Reedy Creek Improvement Act would actually mean for local taxpayers.

The termination of this act could transfer a whopping $2 billion worth of debt over to taxpayers, resulting in thousands of dollars in tax bills. 

Longtime Orlando-based political journalist Scott Powers reported in Florida Politics:

Afterwards, Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando lashed out at Republicans for accusing Democrats of violating decorum, saying the Republicans were using the “full power of the state of Florida to enact retribution against their political opponents, namely Disney.”

“While some Republicans are out there crying that we violated decorum, they violated the Constitution of the state of Florida, they have trampled on the rights of everyday Floridians,” Smith said. “And that is why it was important for Democrats to take a stand today and I am proud of my colleagues for doing so.”

The measure the Democrats contend led to SB 4-C, the parental rights bill, bans classroom “instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity” for students in kindergarten through third grade, or “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” Republicans supported the bill as a way to require appropriate instruction. Democrats contended that civil lawsuit triggers effectively ban discussions of LGBTQ issues at any grade level.

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Politics

Hillary Clinton labels Justice Thomas ‘a person of grievance’

Clinton cautioned that Thomas was also sending a signal to attack same-sex marriage, sodomy and contraception

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Screenshot/YouTube CBS Mornings

NEW YORK – In an interview with CBS News correspondent and co-anchor of CBS Mornings Gayle King, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reflected on last Friday’s stunning yet expected overturn of landmark women’s reproductive choice case Roe v. Wade.

During the interview, Secretary Clinton cautioned that Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was sending a signal to attack same-sex marriage, sodomy and contraception to lower federal courts and state legislatures and that he would be willing to consider cases that could target those rights.

“He has signaled in the past to lower courts, to state legislatures to find cases, pass laws, get them up,” Clinton said, adding Thomas’s message to conservative judicial activists has been “I may not get them the first, the second, or the third time, but we’re going to keep at it.”

Clinton also noted, “I went to law school with [Justice Thomas]. He’s been a person of grievance for as long as I have known him — resentment, grievance, anger … Women are going to die, Gayle. Women will die.”

Hillary Clinton on abortion ruling: “Women are going to die”

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Politics

U.S. House Speaker hints at legislation to codify same-sex marriage rights

Pelosi suggested such legislation in a “Dear Colleague” letter on Monday to fellow members of the House Democratic caucus

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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at SF Pride 2022 by photographer Barbara Kinney (published by permission)

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-SF) hinted at the possibility of legislation to codify the right of same-sex couples to marry, which many fear is in danger after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, as part of an effort to secure “freedoms which Americans currently enjoy.”

Pelosi suggested such legislation could be in the works in a “Dear Colleague” letter on Monday to fellow members of the House Democratic caucus addressing plans for congressional action after the ruling last week in Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization, which eliminated the right for women to access an abortion.

The concurrence of U.S. Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is a core component of the letter from Pelosi, who expressed consternation about his rejection of finding unenumerated rights under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“It is still appalling to me that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would agree that a Constitutional right does not exist if it was not spelled out explicitly and in public when the 14th Amendment was ratified over 150 years ago,” Pelosi said. “While this extremist Supreme Court works to punish and control the American people, Democrats must continue our fight to expand freedom in America. Doing so is foundational to our oath of office and our fidelity to the Constitution.”

Thomas said in his concurring opinion he welcomes vehicles that would allow the court to revisit other major decisions, such as the Griswold decision guaranteeing the right to contraceptives; the Lawrence decision decriminalizing sodomy for same-sex couples and others; and the Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

Although Pelosi doesn’t explicitly say she’ll introduce legislation on same-sex marriage, she brought up “access to contraception and in-vitro fertilization to marriage equality,” then added, “Legislation is being introduced to further codify freedoms which Americans currently enjoy. More information to follow.”

“It is clear from how Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell stacked the Supreme Court that elections have ramifications,” Pelosi said. “It is essential that we protect and expand our pro-choice Majorities in the House and Senate in November so that we can eliminate the filibuster so that we can restore women’s fundamental rights – and freedom for every American.”

Any legislation seeking to codify marriage equality would have to get around marriage being an issue administered by the states under the guidelines of the U.S. Constitution. In the past, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, which would have required the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage and states to recognize same-sex marriage performed elsewhere.

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California Politics

Abortion rights: California Constitutional Amendment heads to ballot

The state is expanding efforts to protect women seeking abortions or reproductive care as well as anyone assisting those women

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Capitol building in Sacramento (Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – In November, California voters will have an opportunity to amend the state’s constitution to include the right to an abortion and today, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to further protect women coming to California from other states.

“California will not back down from the fight to protect abortion rights as more than half the states in this country, enabled by the Supreme Court, ban or severely restrict access,” said Newsom. “We are ensuring Californians will have the opportunity this November to enshrine the right to choose in our state constitution. And we’re not waiting until November to take action, today’s executive order ensures that the state will not hand over patients who come here to receive care and will not extradite doctors who provide care to out-of-state patients here. In California, women will remain protected.”  

The order signed today prevents any information, including medical records and patient data, from being shared by state agencies or departments in response to inquiries or investigations brought by other states or individuals within those states looking to restrict access. The state is expanding efforts to protect women seeking abortions or reproductive care as well as anyone assisting those women.

SCA 10 was passed by the California State Assembly today and now heads to the November ballot.  

Within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last Friday, Governor Newsom signed legislation to help protect patients and providers in California from civil liability for providing, aiding, or receiving abortion care in the state. In addition, Governor Newsom and the governors of Oregon and Washington launched a new Multi-State Commitment to defend access to reproductive health care and protect patients and providers.  

The budget agreement announced yesterday includes more than $200 million in additional funding for reproductive health care services. Governor Newsom recently signed legislation eliminating copays for abortion care services and has signed into law a legislative package to further strengthen access and protect patients and providers.  

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