Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed CS/CS/CS/HB 1305, a bill that will require the Department of Transportation to take over safety standards and inspections of the Walt Disney World monorail system. The bill, like other bills in the most recent Florida legislative session, was written in a manner that specifically targets one company – Walt Disney World.
Here’s a look at the relevant section of the bill, and the narrowly constructed language from the rubber-stamp Republican legislature:
The department shall adopt by rule minimum safety standards for governmentally owned fixed-guideway transportation systems, and privately owned or operated fixed-guideway transportation systems operating in this state which are financed wholly or partly by state funds, and any governmentally or privately owned fixed-guideway transportation systems operating in this state which are located within an independent special district created by local act which have boundaries within two contiguous counties. Standards must be site-specific for fixed-guideway transportation systems and shall be developed jointly by the department and representatives of the affected systems, giving full consideration to nationwide industry safety norms relating to the development and operation of fixed guideway transportation systems. The department shall conduct structural safety inspections in adherence with s. 335.074 for any fixed-guideway transportation systems that are raised or have bridges, as appropriate. Inspectors shall follow departmental safety protocols during safety inspections, including requiring the suspension of system service to ensure the safety and welfare of inspectors and the traveling public during such inspections.
While some of section 341.061 1(a) already exists in law, here’s the part of the above section that was added via an amendment by Republican Senator Nick DiCeglie:
“…and any governmentally or privately owned fixed-guideway transportation systems operating in this state which are located within an independent special district created by local act which have boundaries within two contiguous counties.”
According to an updated version of its lawsuit against Ron DeSantis, Disney World says that they are the only business affected by this bill. In fact, Disney called the language “precision-engineered to target Disney alone, just as Governor DeSantis intended and previewed”. In a May 2nd discussion about his amendment, even Sen. DiCeglie said that the language “strictly focuses on the safety of a very popular monorail system in [the] State”.
Additional new language says that inspections “shall follow departmental safety protocols…including requiring the suspension of system service to ensure the safety and welfare of inspectors and the traveling public during inspections”. The concern among other Florida Senators was that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) would be instructed to carry out these inspections during inconvenient times, perhaps even suspending service during normal operating hours.
Sen. DiCeglie said that he has had conversations with the FDOT and shutting down the monorail would be a “last resort action” and that “there would have to be some significant safety concerns for the monorail to be shut down”.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!