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FIRST ON FOX: Democratic Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis exchanged words about the latter’s push for legislation targeting Disney.
Polis slammed Florida in a tweet Tuesday for supporting state legislation stripping Disney of its special self-governance powers and for DeSantis saying he was reviewing Twitter’s poison pill legislation at the bid for Elon Musk.
“Florida’s authoritarian socialist attacks on the private sector are scaring away businesses,” Polis tweeted. “In [Colorado]we don’t meddle in the affairs of companies like [Disney] or [Twitter].”
FLORIDA SENATE PASSES BILL REMOVING DISNEY FROM SPECIAL SELF-POWER
“Hey [Disney] we are ready for Mountain Disneyland and [Twitter] we’re ready for Twitter HQ2, whoever your owners are,” the Democratic governor continued.
Polis spoke to Fox News Digital in a phone interview Thursday to discuss his tweet, during which he said DeSantis was “welcome to disagree” with any company and that he thinks “When the government starts threatening private companies with retaliation based on their freedom of speech, it takes us down the road to authoritarianism.”
“I think it’s important that we can create a culture that goes against this kind of cancel culture that we see,” Polis said. “And just because a company has a point of view that you don’t like doesn’t mean that company should be penalized by politicians, right?”
“Consumers, absolutely,” continued the Colorado governor. “You can choose not to go to Disneyland. You can choose to buy or not buy whatever product you want. But where it gets inappropriate is when government leaders say we specifically enforce laws that penalize your business because we don’t like the way you exercised your freedom of expression.”
Polis warned that if Florida “targets specific businesses with legislation to hurt them because of their political views,” the Sunshine State could “see a massive corporate exodus.”
The Democratic Governor also said he believed “the best balance for a free market economy is to respect the fact that there are a variety of voices of political opinion, and that no person or company should be isolated. because of his ideology or beliefs and specifically targeted by a bill that is truly anti-business.”
FLORIDA HOUSE PASSES BILL VOIDING DISNEY FROM SELF-CONTAINED STATUS
DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw pushed back against Polis’ comments in a Thursday email to Fox News Digital, saying, “Floridians, many of whom fled socialist countries like Cuba and Venezuela, understand what is and is not socialism.”
“It would be prudent for all politicians to educate themselves on the definition of socialism before weaponizing such baseless allegations,” Pushaw wrote. “Socialism IS: an authoritarian system where the state controls the means of production and the whole economy.”
“Socialism is NOT: [p]legislate to create fairer conditions of competition for all businesses [or] [s]sell shares of a company due to evidence that the company is not acting in the best interests of shareholders and therefore creates unnecessary risk for investors,” she continued.
Pushaw said DeSantis “has always supported a level playing field for all businesses in Florida” and that it is “no ‘retaliation’ to pass legislation that allows all businesses to do business. in a fairer environment.
The Florida governor’s spokeswoman also said that DeSantis proclamation “at the beginning of this special session asked the legislature to consider the existence of all special wards” and that “Disney benefits from one of these special wards”.
“The special district associated with Disney has been around for decades, long before Governor DeSantis was born. Special districts could in some cases show favoritism,” Pushaw wrote. “Should a corporation serve as both regulator and business? Should a company avoid standard environmental permitting processes? Should a company commit to eminent domain? Other companies do not get these privileges.
“Furthermore, it is unfortunate that Disney has decided to engage in political debate and attempt to overturn a common sense law, enacted by a duly elected legislature and signed by a duly elected governor, with the support of the vast majority Floridians,” she continued. “In fact, it was Disney who ‘retaliated’ by publicly committing to ‘repeal’ or have the law ‘repealed’.”
She also pointed to DeSantis’ comments on Twitter during his Wednesday press conference, in which the governor slammed Twitter’s board for accepting the ‘poison pill’ bid to sink the deal. of Musk and pointed out that Florida pension funds had Twitter shares.
“We have people who manage the fund, but nevertheless, it [Twitter] hasn’t really been great and the returns on investment. It’s been pretty stagnant for many, many years,” she said. “I mean, for me, I think it’s probably a wound for the fund. We will therefore examine ways in which the State of Florida can potentially hold these Twitter boards liable for breaching their fiduciary duties.”
The Florida Senate on Wednesday passed a 23-16 bill that revokes the special self-government status Disney has held for half a century. The Florida House passed the bill on Thursday,
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The special statute, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, was signed into law in May 1967 by Governor Claude Kirk in response to lobbying efforts by Disney. The entertainment giant proposed to build a recreation-focused development on 25,000 acres of property in a remote area of Orange and Osceola counties in central Florida, which consisted of 38.5 square miles of pasture and largely uninhabited swamps.
The bill’s passage came after a row between Disney and Florida Republicans over the state’s parental rights in an education bill.
Fox News Digital’s Andrew Mark Miller contributed reporting.