The Republican governor’s conflict with Walt Disney Co. (DIS.N) in central Florida heated up on Friday when Florida lawmakers gave him effective power over the board that governs development there.
Disney was targeted by state Republicans when it openly argued with DeSantis last year about a rule that forbids teachers from discussing sexuality and gender orientation in the classroom; this bill is also dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” statute by its opponents.
An act allowing the governor to select five supervisors to oversee the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a semi-govt organisation in charge of managing the 25,000 acres that surround the Walt Disney World resort, received final approval from Florida legislators on Friday.
Members of the board will be confirmed by the state Senate, but they will not be involved in running the theme parks on a daily basis.
The previous arrangement, under which the Florida government granted Disney complete power over the district in 1967, without accountability, according to DeSantis spokeswoman Bryan Griffin.
He added Florida is ushering in a new period of transparency and responsibility.
In accordance with the Themed Entertainment Association, Disney World attracted 36.2 million visitors in 2021 and employs close to 75,000 people, making it the biggest employer in central Florida.
The special district, which provided Disney with the freedom to run its own affairs for more than 50 years by providing infrastructure, water, sewage, and garbage collection services, was abolished by a resolution of the assembly last year.
Unintended consequences resulted from the decision, which was regarded as revenge for Disney’s then-CEO Bob Chapek coming out against the state law restricting school discussion of LGBTQ matters.
Tax experts and lawmakers cautioned that if the district were to be abolished in June 2023, county taxpayers would be responsible for paying down about $1.2 billion in bond debt.
The Reedy Creek special district is preserved by the current legislation, albeit it will change its title to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District in 2 years.
It will have the power to raise money, settle debt, and deliver a variety of government services. It is forbidden for the district to run its own airport or construct nuclear power plants.
The law also clearly prohibits anyone having connections to theme parks from sitting on the board for the previous three years.
Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World, lauded the Reedy Creek neighbourhood and said it had assisted in the theme park’s expansion and economic contribution to the region.
Everyone is prepared to operate within this new framework since there is an emphasis on the future, he added in a statement.
A few senators opposed the plan, which was the subject of an hour-long debate in the state Senate on Friday.
Senator Linda Stewart, a Democrat that represents Orange County, said all of this appears to be the governor’s vengeance for Disney publicly stating its solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
However, as Google parent company Alphabet (GOOGL.O) fights to compete with popular app ChatGPT, the head of Google’s search engine cautioned against the dangers of artificial intelligence coming from chatbots in a newspaper appearance published on Saturday.
Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vice president for Google and head of Google Search, believed this particular type of artificial intelligence might occasionally cause something known as hallucination.
He made this statement to the German publication Welt am Sonntag.
Then, Raghavan explained in comments that were translated into German, this presents itself in such a manner that a machine offers a persuasive but entirely made-up response.
Keeping this to a limit was one of the essential duties, he continued.
Following the November launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI, a startup that Microsoft (MSFT.O) is investing about $10 billion, Google has been put on the defensive. ChatGPT has impressed users with its remarkably human-like replies to user queries.