Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Last Call For Ron's Gone Wrong, House Of Mouse Edition

Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis's plan to stick it to Disney over "being woke" by putting his flunkies in charge of the company's special taxation district board was a resounding victory as I said last month...right up until Disney's lawyers found a way to neuter the board completely.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handpicked board overseeing Disney World’s government services is gearing up for a potential legal battle over a 30-year development agreement they say effectively renders them powerless to manage the entertainment giant’s future growth in Central Florida.

Ahead of an expected state takeover, the Walt Disney Co. quietly pushed through the pact and restrictive covenants that would tie the hands of future board members for decades, according to a legal presentation by the district’s lawyers on Wednesday.

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s new Board of Supervisors voted to bring in outside legal firepower to examine the agreement, including a conservative Washington, D.C., law firm that has defended several of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ culture war priorities.

“We’re going to have to deal with it and correct it,” board member Brian Aungst Jr. said. “It’s a subversion of the will of the voters and the Legislature and the governor. It completely circumvents the authority of this board to govern.”

Disney defended the agreements.

“All agreements signed between Disney and the district were appropriate and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law,” an unsigned company statement read.

DeSantis’ office could not immediately be reached for comment.

The previous board, which was known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District and controlled by Disney, approved the agreement on Feb. 8, the day before the Florida House voted to put the governor in charge.

Board members held a public meeting that day but spent little time discussing the document before unanimously approving it in a brief meeting.

The agreement allows Disney to build projects at the highest density and the right to sell or assign those development rights to other district landowners without the board having any say, according to the presentation by the district’s new special legal counsel.
Seems like Disney's got better lawyers, even if their recent profit streams have been hitting the skids and their subsidiary cash machines are now in a fair amount of trouble

Isaac Perlmutter, the famously frugal Marvel Entertainment chairman who unsuccessfully worked to shake up the Walt Disney Company’s board in the past year, has been laid off as part of a cost-cutting campaign.

Disney confirmed the move. Mr. Perlmutter, 80, was told by phone on Wednesday that Marvel Entertainment, a small division centered on consumer products and run separately from Marvel Studios, was redundant and would be folded into larger Disney business units, according to two Disney executives briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive personnel matter.

On Monday, Disney started to eliminate 7,000 jobs, about 4 percent of its global total, as part of $5.5 billion in cuts intended to improve Disney’s financial results and position the company for streaming-fueled growth.

Mr. Perlmutter, known as Ike, could not immediately be reached for comment.

An irascible and unrelenting executive, Mr. Perlmutter has been seen as a distraction inside Disney for more than a decade — most recently when he pushed for a friend, the activist investor Nelson Peltz, to join the Disney board.

Mr. Perlmutter contacted Disney board members and senior Disney executives six times from August to November to push for Mr. Peltz to join the board, according to a securities filing. When he was rebuffed, Mr. Peltz started a proxy battle to put himself on the board, saying he would cut costs, revamp Disney’s streaming business and clean up the company’s messy succession planning.
Seems Disney is cleaning house in a number of ways.  We'll see what this means for Marvel, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pixar and more in the months ahead.

Welcome To Gunmerica, Con't

Hours after the deadly shooting at a Nashville Christian school that left seven dead, North Carolina Republicans overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto on abolishing permits and background checks for handguns.
North Carolina legislators repealed the state’s requirement that someone obtain a permit from a local sheriff before buying a pistol, as the Republican-controlled legislature on Wednesday successfully overrode one of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes for the first time since 2018.

The House voted 71-46 to enact the bill — over Cooper’s objections in last week’s veto message — to eliminate the state’s longstanding handgun purchase system, which among other things required sheriffs to perform character evaluations of gun applicants. The Senate voted to override the veto on Tuesday.

Cooper and Democratic lawmakers warned the repeal, which takes effect immediately, would allow more dangerous people to obtain weapons through private sales, which do not require a background check, and limit law enforcement’s ability to prevent them from committing violent crimes.

But bill supporters say the sheriff screening process to buy a pistol is no longer necessary in light of significant updates to the national background check system, and that the permit requirement didn’t serve as a crime deterrent.

Although Republican seat gains in the midterm elections gave them veto-proof margins in the Senate, they were one seat shy of a similar majority in the House.
The bill also allows for handguns in "some schools and churches", which is absolute insanity to me. 

Apparently NC county sheriffs or local PDs don't have any problem with more handguns on the streets.

That'll be somebody else's problem I suspect.

The Road To Gilead Goes Through Idaho

Idaho Republicans are looking to classify "abortion trafficking" as a state felony, and while so far the legislation they are proposing only applies to transporting a minor without parental consent to get abortion services of any kind, it's only a matter of time before the state decides any woman, not just minors, would be subject to this new criminal felony.
Idaho already has some of the most extreme abortion restrictions on the books, with nearly all abortions banned in the state and an affirmative defense law that essentially asserts any doctor who provides an abortion is guilty until proven innocent. And now Idaho Republicans have set their sights on hindering certain residents from traveling out of state to get an abortion.

House Bill 242, which passed through the state House and is likely to move quickly through the Senate, seeks to limit minors’ ability to travel for abortion care without parental consent. The legislation would create a whole new crime — dubbed “abortion trafficking” — which is defined in the bill as an “adult who, with the intent to conceal an abortion from the parents or guardian of a pregnant, unemancipated minor, either procures an abortion … or obtains an abortion-inducing drug” for the minor. “Recruiting, harboring, or transporting the pregnant minor within this state commits the crime of abortion trafficking,” the legislation adds.

Abortion trafficking would be a felony, and those found guilty would face two to five years in prison. The legislation also includes a statute allowing the Idaho attorney general to supersede any local prosecutor’s decision, preemptively thwarting any prosecutor who vows not to enforce such an extreme law.

Since the bill would criminalize anyone transporting a pregnant minor within the state to get an abortion or to obtain medication abortion, it could apply to an aunt who drives a pregnant minor to the post office to pick up a package that includes abortion pills. Or it could target an older sibling who drives a pregnant minor to a friend’s house to self-manage an abortion at home. Either violation would carry a minimum sentence of two years in prison.

The legislation doesn’t actually say anything about crossing state lines, but Republican lawmakers are creative. Most pregnant people in Idaho are not traveling to obtain an abortion elsewhere in the state, since nearly all abortions are illegal in Idaho; they’re traveling to the border with the intent of crossing state lines, likely into Washington, Oregon or Montana, to get an abortion there.

“Technically, they’re not criminalizing people driving in Washington state with a minor. The crime is the time that someone is driving the minor in Idaho,” said David Cohen, a law professor at Philadelphia’s Drexel University whose work focuses on constitutional law and abortion policy.

“They’re going to say what they’re doing is just criminalizing actions that take place completely within Idaho, but in practice what they’re criminalizing is the person helping the minor,” Cohen, who also litigates abortion-related cases with the Women’s Law Project nonprofit, told HuffPost.

State Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R), one of the sponsors of the abortion trafficking bill, said plainly that the intent of the legislation is to limit minors’ ability to travel out of state without parental consent.

“It’s already illegal to get an abortion here in the state of Idaho,” she told HuffPost. “So, it would be taking that child across the border, and if that happens without the permission of the parent, that’s where we’ll be able to hold accountable those that would subvert a parent’s right.”

In the past, a bill like this would have been brushed aside as political fodder, never to become law. But Idaho has seen a Christian white nationalist insurgency in recent years, helping to create a Legislature that’s quickly gone down the far-right rabbit hole — including by introducing legislation that would bring back firing squad executions, or make it a crime punishable by life in prison for a parent to get gender-affirming care for their transgender child.
More red states will pass legislation like this in the years ahead, and eventually, as I've been saying for nine months now, someone will pass a law making it a crime for anyone to cross a border to get an abortion.  That's going to lead to a huge Supreme Court fight, probably in 2024, where the Roberts Court is going to uphold the law for a state, and several more of these laws will pass.

I guarantee you this is coming.

The only solution is to vote out Republicans.

You can complain about Dems all you want, but there's zero chance of national legislation fixing all this and fixing the Supreme Court as long as Republicans remain with enough power to block it.

I know people don't believe in voting our way out of this, but not doing so hands everything over to these bastards.

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