One of the bills signed by DeSantis unravels the nearly 55-year-old Reedy Creek Improvement Act, a unique Florida law that helped establish Walt Disney World in the state by giving the brains behind Mickey Mouse operational autonomy.
Another bill signed by DeSantis subjects Disney to a state law that allows people to sue Big Tech companies for censorship after Disney won an exemption from it last year. A federal judge has blocked the law, but Florida is appealing the ruling.
Disney has not responded to CNN requests for comment.
Florida Democrats have been outspoken against the bills, accusing Republicans of retaliating against the state’s largest private employer in ways that will reverberate throughout the Sunshine State’s important tourism economy.
New congressional map
It dismantles Florida’s 5th Congressional District, currently represented by Democrat Al Lawson, which connects Black communities from Tallahassee to Jacksonville. Instead, Jacksonville, the city with the largest African American population in the state, is divided into two Republican-leaning districts.
The final product would also shift Florida’s 10th Congressional District – an Orlando-area seat represented by Val Demings, a Black Democrat now running for US Senate – east toward Whiter communities.
DeSantis has contended those districts were racially gerrymandered and has suggested they are unconstitutional.
Several Black members of the Florida House staged a protest during debate Thursday, forcing an informal recess before Republican members continued the process by ending debate and holding the vote during their protest.
The Republican-controlled state House and Senate had initially sought to maintain the state’s four Black congressional districts. DeSantis threatened to veto those proposals.
DeSantis’ foray into the once-a-decade redistricting process is unusual. None of his immediate predecessors were especially involved in reapportioning state boundaries. It was a surprise to Tallahassee, including Republicans, when the governor’s office in January submitted a map for the lawmakers to consider.
Republicans currently hold a 16-11 advantage in Florida’s US House delegation. The state added a 28th district following the 2020 US census.
New law limits how race can be discussed in classrooms
In signing the bill that will put new restrictions on how schools and businesses can talk about race and gender, DeSantis realized one of his top objectives heading into his reelection campaign. In December, he had proposed the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (WOKE) Act to remove certain teachings about race from school curricula and employee trainings. Specifically, DeSantis called for a banning of critical race theory and similar concepts.
That proposal became the legislative framework for HB 7, which passed the Republican-controlled legislature earlier this year.
“No one is teaching critical race theory,” state Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Black Democrat from Jacksonville, said the day the bill passed in that chamber. “This is a bill in search of a problem that we don’t have.”
“This is politically driven,” she added. “This is designed to create division.”
Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern that such a law could lead to schools desensitizing history, including the Jim Crow era, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the Stonewall riots.
The bill DeSantis signed says schools can teach about slavery and the history of racial segregation and discrimination in an “age-appropriate manner,” but the instruction cannot “indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view.”
The new law also says that students “shall develop an understanding of the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping on individual freedoms, and examine what it means to be a responsible and respectful person” and “celebrate the inspirational stories of African Americans who prospered , even in the most difficult circumstances. “
The law goes into effect on July 1.
CNN’s Jaide Timm-Garcia contributed to this story.