- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 1, 2022

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday he disagrees with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ “punitive approach” in responding to The Walt Disney Co.‘s criticism of a parental rights law.

Mr. Hutchinson, a Republican who is openly considering a 2024 presidential bid, said Disney has handled the situation “poorly” and the so-called Don’t Say Gay law, which bans sex education before fourth grade, is based on “common sense.”

“In those lower grades, you shouldn’t be teaching sexual orientation and those matters that should not be covered at that age,” Mr. Hutchinson said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But I don’t believe that governors should be punitive against private businesses because they disagree with them.”

“That is not the right approach either,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “To me, that is the old Republican principle of having restrained government … Let’s not go after business and punish them because we disagree with what they said.”

Mr. DeSantis, a Republican who is thought to be eyeing a White House run, last month signed into law a bill revoking Disney’s special tax and governance district in the state.

The law seeks to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District that has given Disney autonomy to build and decide how to use the land without interference from local communities.

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Critics of the dissolution bill have warned that taxpayers in neighboring counties could end up shouldering about $1 billion in debts from the district. Mr. DeSantis has dismissed those concerns.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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