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May 2022

Self government

Protocol undermines Northern Ireland’s right to self-government

Although there is some appreciation of the difficulties caused by the protocol which the EU has seen fit to impose on Northern Ireland in connection with Brexit, the scale of the difficulties has been, and continues to be , massively underestimated. A clear example of this trend is provided by the Protocol Sub-Committee of the Lords European Affairs Committee. While it is encouraging that the Committee has recognized that there is a democratic problem with the Protocol that merits consideration, the manner in which the Committee has characterized the difficulty as a “democratic deficit” is deeply problematic.

When talking about EU-related challenges, the term “democratic deficit” has a well-established meaning that refers to a difficulty of a completely different order than that which affects Northern Ireland as a result of the protocol. It concerns Member States and their electorates (and not jurisdictions like the UK, and in this case Northern Ireland, which are not part of the EU) and stems from the fact that a large number of decisions are taken at a supranational level for which it is difficult for national parliaments to ensure accountability and yet for which the powers of the European Parliament are either too weak or too inaccessible to voters who instinctively seek accountability on a more immediate national basis rather than a distant supranational one.

But above all, while the democratic deficit is frustrating, it in no way leaves the peoples of the EU without democratic rights. There is a European Parliament representing the citizens of the EU in and through which they can seek and do seek, to some extent, to hold European governance to account and citizens can, of course, seek to hold the EU to account through their national governments, which are fully represented in EU institutions.

By contrast, the nature and extent of the democratic problems resulting from the EU Protocol on Northern Ireland are of a different order altogether. Instead of presenting us with a challenge that weakens democratic accountability, creating a shortfall that must be filled, the Protocol completely removes representative democracy from Northern Ireland in respect of some 300 legislative areas. The two scenarios – democratic difficulties resulting from EU membership and democratic problems resulting from the NI Protocol – are therefore like chalk and cheese. The latter requires a completely different characterization…

Read the full story at: Politico.co.uk.

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Sovereignty

The First Nations of Quebec launch an initiative to prepare self-government measures

By Patrick Quinn

Journalist of the Local Journalism Initiative

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is launching an Office of Self-Determination and Self-Government to share research, legislative materials and training to help First Nations implement their own laws. The office will conduct studies, gather expertise and develop a “media watch” on issues related to self-determination.

“It is also a demonstration that we will stand up to colonial governments who would prefer to see us remain quiet and silent,” said AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard during the April 28 announcement. “On the whole issue of consultation, Quebec is failing miserably.

The initiative follows a two-day meeting of AFNQL Chiefs, who agreed that government consultations on a range of issues were inadequate. Although Quebec unanimously adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2019, Picard believes that Premier François Legault is not living up to this commitment.

“On the one hand, they say they support this notion of a nation-to-nation relationship, and on the other hand, they act completely opposite to that very notion,” Picard asserted. “I would even go so far as to say that they perhaps understand too well what this entails and that is why we see so much of a dropout from them.

Relations between Quebec and the AFNQL deteriorated after the Great Economic Circle of Indigenous Peoples and Quebec in November, during which Legault made a brief appearance but did not interact with the chiefs.

The AFNQL chiefs then sent a letter to Legault insisting that projects impacting their territories could only proceed with the consent of the community. The Prime Minister did not respond.

“Exercising this right to self-determination is not an action against Quebecers and Canadians,” explained Picard. “This is a legitimate assumption of our responsibilities. The assertion of our rights will be a powerful lever to ensure respect for our principles and rights to the territory, but also for the preservation of our languages, our cultures and the improvement of our socio-economic conditions.

Kahnawake Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer called the establishment of the office a “very timely and empowering” example of the “Indigenous resurgence” that is developing across Canada. She pointed out that when people cross traditional Indigenous territories, they need to understand that there are particular laws that must be followed.

“Historically, we’ve been legislated, considered subordinate or not equal and that era is coming to an end,” Sky-Deer said. “We need to get past structures like the Indian Act and other colonial laws that affect our people.

The Indian Act delegated extensive powers to provincial governments, which exercised them unevenly. Changes to the law removed some discriminatory aspects and granted greater autonomy to Aboriginal people. But governance structures can vary considerably even within a province.

In 1984, the Cree-Naskapi Act became the first Aboriginal self-government legislation in Canada. It replaced the Indian Act and established these Indigenous communities as corporate entities. This law transferred to the Cree Nation Governance Agreement in 2017, creating the Cree Constitution and completely removing federal oversight over Category 1A lands.

Former Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come believed this agreement stayed true to the Cree vision of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, with the treaty signifying emancipation from the Indian Act and the means to self-government. . This led to the first Cree law, the Cree Language Act, and other steps towards self-determination.

The Mistissini governance project will create five laws intended to revitalize Cree legal principles and traditions. Consultations with community members will inform laws related to governance, hunting, development, Lake Mistissini and community constitution.

“The Cree Nation of Mistissini is working to craft fundamental laws that will capture in writing the heart of our Cree worldview _ our relationships with each other, with our lands and our waters,” said Chief Thomas Neeposh. “These laws will establish Cree traditional knowledge and authority in the form of legislation clearly describing how our Iinou Iidouwun, our laws and legal systems, values, principles and practices apply today.

The Cree Nation is developing ways to advance self-determination, most recently the Cree-Naskapi-Inuit Permanent Forum, a model for other First Nations. In its opposition to Bill 96, the Legault government’s controversial extension of French-language legislation, the AFNQL proposed, among other measures, to implement the same language of instruction principles applied to Cree and Inuit students.

On May 10, the AFNQL demanded nothing less than a total and resolute exemption from Bill 96 for First Nations members. This happened after repeated attempts to offer accommodations to make the law more reconcilable with inherent and constitutionally protected Indigenous rights were ignored or outright rejected.

“Even when we play by their rules, we become the victims because none of that is acknowledged,” Picard said. “We are no longer at the time of negotiations and settlements. We affirm clearly and with one voice today our absolute refusal to submit to Law 96 and to all other laws infringing on our rights.

patrick quinn is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works for THE NATION. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Turtle Island News does not receive funding from the LJI government.

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Home rule

Norton Steels for Fighting Greene, GOP Over DC Home Rule

DC Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has warned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a far-right Republican from Georgia, that if she works with her party members to repeal the District of Columbia’s Home Rule Act in the next Congress, she will fight. against her hands.

The Home Rule Act allows the city to elect a mayor to run its executive branch and a city council for its legislative branch. The legislation was signed into law in 1973 by President Richard M. Nixon, a Republican, who said it would give DC residents “the right to elect their own municipal officials and to govern themselves in local affairs. “.

In February, Greene’s Georgia Republican Representative Andrew Clyde suggested the repeal of Home Rule and said he was working on legislation to do so.

Additionally, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the ranking Republican on the Oversight and Reform Committee, said earlier this year that if the GOP is the majority party in the next Congress, they will limit the District’s ability to govern itself.

Currently, Norton is the second Democrat on the committee.

“The last time we heard of such threats to DC self-government from Republicans was in the early to mid-1990s,” the delegate said. “Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Andrew Clyde literally want the feds to take over running DC as a colony. Republicans fear that DC is getting closer to statehood than ever before, and their response, unsurprisingly, is to try to suppress the democracy that DC’s estimated 700,000 residents enjoy, including a plurality of African Americans. I will defeat their efforts, and their efforts will only strengthen our case for statehood.

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Home rule

Supreme Court Finds Lee’s School Voucher Program Doesn’t Violate House Rules Protections

Governor Bill Lee speaks in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the State Capitol in Nashville on March 22, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Three years after lawmakers narrowly passed Governor Bill Lee’s school voucher program, the state Supreme Court overturned lower court findings that it violated Bylaw protections against county laws individual by applying only to Nashville and Shelby County.

The 3-2 decision published on Thursday came after the High Court decided to rehear arguments following the death last year of Judge Connie Clark. Court of Appeals Judge Skip Frierson sat on the case and sided with Chief Justice Roger Page and Judge Jeff Bivins. Justices Sharon Lee and Holly Kirby dissented.

UPDATE: When the voucher bill was passed, it was tied to the transfer of calculated dollars through the basic education program to cover private school tuition. Lawmakers this year approved an overhaul of the school funding formula called Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement, which funds individual students rather than districts as a whole. The Lee administration included a provision in the law to change the mechanism for funding the voucher program from the old formula to the new:

SECTION 53. Tennessee Code Annotated Section 49-6-2603 is amended by deleting the term “Basic Education Program” wherever it appears and replacing it with “Tennessee’s Investment in the Success Formula.” students (TISA)”.

Here is the press release from the Administrative Office of the Courts:

In an opinion released today, the Tennessee Supreme Court determined that, although two county governments in Tennessee have standing to challenge the Education Savings Account Pilot Program (the “ESA Law”), Law No. is not rendered unconstitutional by the Home Rule Amendment, Section XI, Section 9, of the Tennessee Constitution.

In 2019, the Tennessee General Assembly signed into law the ESA Act. The law establishes a program whereby a limited number of eligible students directly receive their share of state and local education funds, which would normally be provided to the public school system they attend, to pay for an education in a private school. and associated expenses.

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, the Shelby County Government, and the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education filed a lawsuit for declaratory judgment which named as defendants Governor Bill Lee, Commissioner of the Department of Education of Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of Education. The trial court also allowed other parties to intervene and participate as defendants. The complaint alleged that the ESA Act violated several provisions of the Tennessee Constitution, including the Home Rule Amendment, the Equal Protection Clauses, and the Education Clause.

The defendants filed separate motions challenging the plaintiffs’ ability to pursue the asserted claims and the legal sufficiency of those claims. The plaintiffs, in turn, filed a motion for summary judgment regarding their claim to change the Home Rule. The trial court determined that the two county plaintiffs had standing to pursue the claims, but dismissed the Metro School Board as a plaintiff for lack of standing. The trial court also granted the motion for summary judgment finding that the ESA Act violates the Home Rule Amendment and barred the state from implementing the law. The trial court reserved its decision on the defendants’ challenges to the claims of the equal protection and education clause.

The trial court granted the defendants an interlocutory appeal and the Court of Appeal granted the defendants’ appeals. The intermediate appeals court upheld the trial court, finding that Metro and Shelby County had standing to challenge the ESA Act under the Home Rule Amendment and that the law was unconstitutional under the autonomy amendment.

The Tennessee Supreme Court granted the defendants the leave to appeal applications. Since this is an interlocutory appeal, the issues before the Court were limited to the constitutionality of the ESA Act under the Home Rule Amendment and the ability of the plaintiffs to bring this challenge. The Supreme Court agreed with the trial court and the Court of Appeals that plaintiffs Metro and Shelby County had standing to file their Home Rule amendment petition. However, the Supreme Court, after reviewing the applicable constitutional language, held that the ESA Act was not rendered unconstitutional by the Home Rule Amendment because the Act is not “applicable” to the plaintiff’s counties for the purposes of the amendment. The majority concluded that the ESA Act is not applicable to the plaintiff’s counties because the statute regulates or governs the conduct of local education agencies and not the counties. Thus, the law does not violate the Home Rule Amendment. The Supreme Court therefore affirmed, in part, and reversed, in part, the judgment of the Court of Appeal and sent the case back to the trial court for the dismissal of the Home Rule amendment application and for consideration of the applicants’ remaining applications.

Judge Sharon G. Lee and Judge Holly Kirby joined in a separate, partly concurring and partly dissenting opinion. They agreed with the Court that Metro and Shelby County had standing to challenge the ESA Act, but found the law violated the Home Rule Amendment. In their view, the ESA Act significantly affects the ability of Metro and Shelby County to self-govern and decide on school funding issues. Under ESA law, only Metro and Shelby counties and no other counties in the state have to pay for students who drop out of public schools and use their private school tuition vouchers. Because the ESA Act has local effect and application, and because the law gives Metro and Shelby County no choice in the matter, it violates the Home Rule Amendment.

To read the majority opinion in Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, et al. v. Tennessee Department of Education, et al.written by Chief Justice Roger A. Page, and the separate opinion written by Judge Sharon G. Lee, visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov.

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Home rule

Home Rule Week Edition – Streetsblog New York City

The big news this week will be Mayor Adams’ trip to Albany on Tuesday to push for state lawmakers to reauthorize or expand the city’s control over public schools, the Affordable Housing Grant (aka 421-a) and , as we like to say, most important, speed control cameras.

Gothamist had a good primer on the issue of “home rule,” which is the language of the state constitution to let the city run the things that only cities really care about: local schools, local development, and local roads. The Home Rule is pretty much dead on radar (as we first reported last week), so Adams will push lawmakers to pass a bill from Sen. Andrew Gounardes to at least reauthorize them for three years. (The bill includes other provisions that probably won’t make it into the final bill, judging by our conversations last week with Assembly members and senators, but still).

In other news:

  • Ladies and gentlemen, the GOAT on a bike (uh, but why does Tom Brady need a electric Citi bike? Stars – they are not like us):
  • Meanwhile, while Tom Brady was enjoying a ride on an e-bike, his naughty cousin Steve Cuozzo, released the ‘angry man screams cloud’ track for another NY Post rampage against bikes, in this case, e-bikes, which Cuozzo says should be banned altogether. A man is entitled to his opinion, but there are numerous factual errors in the article, as well as errors of omission, including the failure to provide this video to show the corresponding destructive power of an electric car :
  • The Daily News also covered the murder of a Bronx pedestrian by a reckless van driver on Saturday, although all day our old editor tried to impress on someone at the paper how terrible their website is. :
  • Assembly candidate Tony Simone is the latest Hells Kitchen resident to complain that the governor’s plan for Penn Station redevelopment is flawed. (Gotham Gazette)
  • The Regional Plan Association conducted another survey of New Yorkers in the metropolitan area and found that crime and the cost of living were the top concerns (although it is unclear how these concerns were distributed among city ​​residents and out-of-town residents). But one thing still really caught our attention: residents remain concerned about climate change. “More than three out of four [area] residents (76%) agree that buildings need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, including 79% of New York residents,” the poll said. Seems like that’s a pretty strong mandate for car reduction strategies as well.
  • Let’s bet that these new electric road sweepers from the sanitation service are silent:
  • Federal officials are finally talking about the one thing that will stop the chop: Federal legislation to prevent helicopters from disturbing the peace. (amNY)
  • Mayor Adams says the Brooklyn-Queens Freeway will be fine, which is why he’s diverted money from its upkeep for the time being. (amNY)
  • Another reason to ditch the car? Auto theft is on the rise. (New York Post)
  • The Post has a bit more about the man who was run over and killed by an MTA bus driver in Staten Island.
  • And, finally, Riders Alliance spokesman Danny Pearlstein spotted one of the new DOT “drive safe” ads the other day on a bus shelter and noted that the ad was pointed in a way that it wouldn’t be seen by drivers. Doug Gordon provided the hunter:

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Self government

The Governor General uses her trip to Nunavik to highlight the importance of self-government

Governor General Mary Simon says she wants to see Indigenous communities take back the power they held before colonization

Governor General Mary Simon wasted no time this week on her first trip to Nunavik in three years, using the visit to encourage leaders to advance self-government negotiations.

Simon, originally from Kuujjuaq and former president of Makivik Corp., has her own experience as a lead negotiator in the Nunavik self-determination process.

On her first day in the area, she brought up the issue during a meeting with Makivik Corp. and other representatives of Inuit organizations from Nunavik, emphasizing the need to negotiate a new agreement with the Government of Quebec.

She also worked on the other side of the table, pushing Quebec Premier François Legault to appoint a negotiator. During briefings with Makivik executives on Monday, she assured that the work had paid off.

“[Legault] committed in the meeting with me to appoint a negotiator,” she said. “I asked him to say it twice, so he said it publicly.”

Simon sat down with Nunatsiaq News during her five-day tour of Nunavik this week, to discuss why the quest for self-government in Nunavik is so important to her.

“The goal of negotiating self-determination or self-government agreements in, I think, all parts of Canada, Indigenous communities, is to bring back the power that we had before colonization,” she said. .

Simon said one of his visions for Inuit self-determination is that infrastructure and social development in the Arctic should match some of the development that has happened in the rest of Canada.

However, she says, development in Nunavik must be led and controlled by the region’s Inuit.

“For Inuit, it’s important that there is a mesh of ways of looking at how infrastructure is developed, and that infrastructure supports different things like education, health, municipal services,” said she said.

“All of these different services that are in the communities are going to be encompassed by this self-government agreement, you have to watch how these things evolve as you negotiate self-government.”

There are areas where Nunavimmiut are leading the charge on social issues, through the Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Center in Kuujjuaq and the Unaaq Men’s Association in Inukjuak.

“I’m really happy to listen to the challenges that people face in their communities, I’m also really happy to listen to the success stories, so hopefully I can bring that to a wider audience in Canada,” said Simon, after meeting with representatives of these groups.

“Communities, on the one hand, have a lot of social problems, but on the other hand, they also thrive, they speak their language, they practice their culture, and in some of the schools that we have been, the people who work there speak to students in Inuktitut.

Simon’s Nunavik tour included stops in Kuujjuaq, Kangiqsualujjuaq and Inukjuak. A planned visit to Kangiqsujuaq was canceled on Wednesday due to poor flying conditions, with Simon calling on community representatives to apologize and promising to return in the future.

She described her visit to Nunavik as “comforting” and “gratifying”.

Governors general generally serve a five-year term. In the four years remaining in Simon’s term, she said she hopes to be able to visit all the communities in Nunavik and see as much of Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon as possible.

“I have a lot of traveling to do,” she said.

Each time Simon returns to Nunavik, she will be welcomed with open arms, said Mary Johannes, Mayor of Kuujjuaq and friend of Simon’s family.

“It was a special time for us, and for our community, our city, and to welcome him into our home,” Johannes said. “It’s a special week for us and we hope to see her again.”

Simon’s Nunavik tour ended on Friday.

Next, she will travel to Toronto for the Juno Awards, where she will present the Humanitarian Award to Inuk singer-songwriter Susan Aglukark.

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Home rule

Peter Hitchens says UK should have granted Home Rule to Ireland before 1914

Home Rule was a movement that campaigned for Irish autonomy within the United Kingdom

Peter Hitchens believes that the British government should have granted Home Rule to Ireland before 1914.

Home Rule was a movement that campaigned for Irish self-government within the United Kingdom.

A Home Rule Bill was introduced in the House of Commons three times, once in 1886, then again in 1893 and again in 1912.

It was finally passed by Parliament in 1914.

Peter Hitchens talks to Mark Steyn

Michelle O'Neill, Vice President of Sinn Fein

Michelle O’Neill, Vice President of Sinn Fein

But Mr Hitchens believes the British establishment has “long wanted to get rid of Northern Ireland”, adding that the Home Rule Bill should have been approved before 1914.

Speaking to Mark Steyn on GB News, Mr Hitchens said: ‘John Major had made it clear in his great, unselfish statement about remaining interests that people who call them loyalists in Northern Ireland increasingly find this country they want to be loyal to. I don’t want to have them.

“The British establishment has long wanted to get rid of Northern Ireland, it’s expensive, it’s complicated, it’s difficult.

“And they’re facing enormous pressure from outside, I imagine strongly from the European Union, I know for sure from the United States, to find a way to hand over the baton.”

Boris Johnson admits Northern Ireland protocol situation is now ‘very serious’

He continued: “What I find distressing about this is that if you talk about it with any frankness you immediately get into this horrible sectarian, one side of the other football, team stuff. United vs City football.

“Because you don’t like Sinn Fein, people think you’re part of the Orange Order.

“I actually think the British government should have granted Home Rule to Ireland before 1914.

“I think the mismanagement of that and the terrible mismanagement of the Easter Rising, the execution of leaders, disastrous policies.

“Northern Ireland’s neglect in the post-war period was also a great disgrace.

“But there have always been plenty of peaceful, law-abiding people in Northern Ireland who believe in Irish nationalism and have sought a peaceful path to some kind of sensible compromise.

“And what this deal did was it pushed them to one side.”

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Sovereignty

Minister of Local Government of Kerala, MV Govindan – The New Indian Express

By Express press service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Exceeding the target of creating 5,000 jobs through Kudumbashree’s various livelihood programs, the government claims to have created more than 10,000 jobs in the self-employment and daily wage sector through various Kudumbashree initiatives under of its ongoing 100-day program.

Local Government Minister MV Govindan said it was a great achievement that the government was able to exceed its target. Kudumbashree was able to create 592 jobs through the National Urban Livelihood Mission, 110 through the Startup Village Entrepreneurship Program, 5,622 through micro-enterprises, 592 through livestock programs, and 261 through value-added agricultural products.

Through the Pravasi Bhadratha project, interest-free loans were provided to create 2,824 jobs for NRKs who had returned to the state. Under this scheme, a maximum of Rs 2 lakh has been granted as a loan to each beneficiary. The program, aimed at generating 1,000 business ventures for NRK, was able to help 1,719 businesses.

Kudumbashree has also been able to equip 2,678 young people to gain daily wage employment by providing them with vocational training through the Yuva Keralam and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana projects.

According to the minister, a 1 lakh entrepreneur identification project will also be launched soon in association with local bodies. Another project to provide jobs for 20 lakh people in association with K-DISC was also progressing at a rapid pace, the minister said.

Reiterating the government’s commitment to solving the unemployment problems plaguing the state, the minister distributed certificates and statuettes to people who got jobs through projects like Yuva Keralam and to those who started businesses businesses using loans from the Pravasi Bhadratha program.

Panchayat District Chairman Dr Suresh presided over the ceremony. Kudumbashree Executive Director Sreevidya PI, Kasaragod District Panchayat Chairman Baby Balakrishnan and Kudumbashree Chief Operating Officer Sreekanth AS were among those who spoke at the event.

Opportunities in Kudumbashree

  • 5,622 jobs via micro-enterprises

  • 2,824 through the Pravasi Bhadratha project

  • 2,678 through vocational training under the Yuva Keralam and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana projects

  • 592 via the National Urban Livelihoods Mission

  • 592 via breeding programs

  • 261 through value-added agricultural products

  • 110 through the Startup Village entrepreneurship program

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Sovereignty

Dissolving theme park self-government won’t be so simple

In late April, a short special session of the Florida legislature voted to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a previously little-known entity that functions as the private government of Disney Co. in central Florida.

For more than 50 years, the district has enabled Disney to oversee various services for 27,000 acres in central Florida that house the company’s theme parks.

The disbandment, widely understood to be part of a larger political row over the “Don’t Say Gay” law between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, leaves a series of unresolved issues in its wake, experts said. bisnow this week.

One uncertainty is the fate of more than hundreds of millions of bonds issued by the district. In addition, there is the potentially longer-term question of whether Orange and Osceola counties will be permanently responsible for providing the services currently provided by Reedy Creek.

“I’m not sure there has ever been a case where a special district was disbanded without a specific plan in place on how the debt and services provided by the district would be distributed among the local governments,” they said. said Shepard, Smith, Kohlmyer & Hand. partner Jacob Schumer, who is based in Orlando.

That kind of uncertainty is a recipe for legal challenges, he added, and at this stage of the game any number of legal challenges are possible. This is especially true if the Florida legislature does not reinstate the district or devise another solution that would satisfy everyone involved.

Given the stormy political circumstances that prompted the Florida legislature to shut down Reedy Creek, finding such a solution could be problematic.

“It was a way for Governor DeSantis to appeal to his conservative base and gain more national attention, to get his name recognized among Republican voters across the country,” Aubrey Jewett said. , an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Central Florida, specializing in Florida politics.

The governor’s office did not respond to questions from bisnow On the question.

“About an hour before the start of the special session, the governor announced that he was expanding the session to include the dissolution [of] Reedy Creek,” Jewett said. “So there was no warning, and a few days later, bing-bang-boom, it was done, with virtually no research into the financial implications for the government. or whatever.”

The governor’s office released a statement shortly after DeSantis signed the bill stating that “in the near future, we will be proposing additional legislation to authorize additional special districts in a manner that ensures transparency and rules fair gaming under the law”.

No details were offered.

Legal challenges to the dissolution could come from multiple quarters, Schumer said.

Assuming there are no changes to the disbandment plan, Disney could have a First Amendment retaliatory lawsuit claiming the state punished him for exercising his free speech rights, a he noted. In such a case, the state could argue that it was within its rights, as the original creator of the special district, to dissolve it.

While possible, a First Amendment lawsuit is less likely than a lawsuit by Reedy Creek bondholders to stop the dissolution law from going into effect, Schumer said, and it’s possible some taxpayers in the county are also suing.

“It’s hard to guess what the private actors will do, but since every bondholder theoretically has the ability to sue, I would expect at least some of them to want to litigate. the cause – stepping in to say, it’s not OK,” Schumer said. “As it stands, the district’s debt is going to be dumped on Orange and Oceola counties.”

Currently, Reedy Creek has about $79 million in utility revenue and refund obligations and $766 million in ad valorem tax obligations, according to Fitch, which recently said the bill poses “significant risk.” for the credit quality of these districts, including Reedy”. Creek Improvement District.”

Reedy Creek did not respond to a question from bisnowBut the district issued a statement shortly after the legislature moved to dissolve it, attempting to reassure bondholders that Florida law requires that even in cases like this, they will be paid.

“In light of the State of Florida’s commitment to the District’s bondholders, Reedy Creek plans to explore its options while continuing its current operations, including…debt service payments on its ad valorem tax obligations and its utility revenue obligations, pursuant to its debt covenants and the operation and maintenance of its properties,” the statement read.

Reserved area

Bisnow/Dees Stribling

The Old State Capitol in Tallahassee

Although Reedy Creek is unique in that it is controlled by a major entertainment conglomerate, many of the powers granted to the district are found in other special districts in Florida, according to Jewett.

“For example, we have many community development districts, which are formed to finance, build and maintain infrastructure for new developments, and, like Reedy Creek, can issue tax-exempt municipal bonds to raise funds,” said Jewett.

The district also has the power “to issue general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, assessment bonds, or any other bond”, according to the 1967 charter.

Under Florida law, there are also fire protection districts, utility districts (water, sewer, electrical), drainage districts, mosquito control districts, transportation districts for roads and bridges, sanitation districts for solid waste and environmental districts to protect the land.

Most other states also provide this type of special districts.

“Yet the combination of powers given to Reedy Creek is not found in any other special district in Florida, and there are also a few powers that you won’t find anywhere else,” Jewett said.

More prosaically, these exceptional powers include Reedy Creek’s ability to have its own building code and building inspections, but Reedy Creek also possesses at least one very unusual power, at least by 21st century standards: the ability to develop a nuclear power plant.

In the 1960s, part of Disney’s plans for Reedy Creek included residential development, and it was seen at the time as a forward-thinking option for local power generation.

The ability to sue could be delayed, however, given the long delay – more than a year – before Reedy Creek is actually scheduled for bed.

“The biggest legal hurdle in my mind is that the dissolution doesn’t happen until June 1, 2023,” said Lewis, Longman & Walker shareholder Chris Lyon, who is based in Tallahassee and has represented special districts in as a lawyer and lobbyist for almost 20 years. “I’m not sure a court case on the debt issue is ripe before then.”

As for the argument that a referendum is needed to dissolve the district, Lyon said he doesn’t think that holds water, because the legislator made a specific exception to this law, which he is entitled to. to do.

During debate on the bill, Rep. Randy Fine, a Republican, said it replaces a requirement in Florida law that specifies that voters in a special district must approve its dissolution.

To which state Rep. Dotie Joseph, a Democrat, responded, according to CNN: “I think to change the law that’s there, you’ll repeal it, not just put in another one that violates it, but what the I know? I’m just a lawyer.”

A stakeholder vote on dissolution might be off the table, but that doesn’t mean the interested parties — Disney and the state — won’t negotiate, even though Disney has so far remained mum on its plans.

“Pragmatically, I imagine Disney/Reedy Creek would like to end this dispute and work with the Governor and Legislature to reinstate the District concurrently with the Dissolution Date – which the law allows – rather than to continue the fight by going to court,” Lyon said.

“What’s most likely to happen is a renegotiation,” said Eleanor Wilking, an assistant professor at Cornell Law School who studies tax policy.

“There are strong incentives on both sides that they come to an agreement and have Reedy Creek, or something very similar, reinstated,” Wilking said. “The political pressure is going to come from voters and representatives in Central Florida who don’t [want] a sudden property tax hike, no matter how big.”

There have been bottom-of-the-envelope calculations about how much ending Reedy Creek could cost the two counties, but no hard numbers yet, Jewett said.

“I think the governor and the legislature now realize that this looks bad politically, so I expect some sort of action on the matter shortly,” Jewett said.

“Dissolving Rey Creek is going to affect taxpayers no matter how they choose to do it,” said Sen. Linda Stewart, a Democrat who represents part of Orange County. bisnow. “It’s unavoidable. It wasn’t broken to begin with, so we don’t know why the state is changing it, other than the difference of opinion on a social issue between Disney and the governor.”

Stewart said the final numbers haven’t been worked out yet, but she thinks at least $1 billion is a useful shorthand. The Orange and Osceola county ratepayers bill will be at least as much, if not more, if Reedy Creek were really to be dissolved, she said.

“The amount of a property tax increase is of course based on the value of your home or commercial property,” Stewart said. “So for an Orange County homeowner, it could cost between $1,200 and $2,200 more per year, every year. It would probably be more for commercial owners.”

According to other calculations, the increases for landowners are considerably less than this.

Disney makes annual payments to the Reedy Creek Improvement District of $105 million for operations and $58 million for bond debt, or $163 million a year that would be passed on to local taxpayers, according to news outlet WESH.

Using that figure, a median-priced home in Orange County would pay $156 to $208 a year more if Disney’s government was ultimately dismantled, WESH estimates.

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