State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 9/26/2021

Good Morning!

This week I joined my colleagues in the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives in Tallahassee for the first of six Interim Committee Weeks ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session. It was wonderful to be able to meet with so many of you in the Florida Capitol during this first week, and I look forward to working together on another successful Session for Floridians and District 17.

In addition to committee meetings, Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis honored Florida’s outstanding firefighters and recognized their selfless service during the 2021 Fire Service Awards. Thank you to the brave men and women who run toward danger to keep Floridians and our communities safe.

I also want to offer a heartfelt congratulations to Representative Paul Renner for being elected the Speaker-Designate of the Florida House of Representatives for the 2022-24 Legislative Term. I look forward to continuing to work with Representative Renner on the issues that matter most to Floridians.

I consider it a great honor to represent District 17. Please share this link with your friends and family so they too can sign up for the Mayfield Minute.

If you or someone you know needs my assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact my office. My staff and I are here to serve you!

 

Statewide Updates

Florida Minimum Wage Increasing September 30th

In 2020 voters approved a Constitutional Amendment that requires the gradual increase of the Florida minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026. The first increase, as a result of the Constitutional Amendment, will take place on Thursday, September 30th, 2021. The Florida minimum wage will increase from $8.65 to $10 per hour. For the next several years through 2026, the Florida minimum wage will increase on September 30th by $1 until it reaches $15 on September 30, 2026.

Governor DeSantis Hosts Roundtable to Discuss Student Progress Monitoring and Ending Common Core

On September 20, 2021, Governor DeSantis held a roundtable in Niceville, Florida to discuss Progress Monitoring. The roundtable focused on his initiative to shift from Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) to a progress monitoring approach focused on individual development.

 “In Florida we have had the FSA for many years, a lot of effort goes into this test each year, both on the actual test and the preparation for it,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Over the past few years, we have been able to expand our ability to use modern tools to measure progress and achievement, while also course correcting where individual students may need additional support. With the FSA, if a student is struggling, the school year is already over, and you cannot modify instruction to meet that student’s needs. With progress monitoring, you have streamlined periodic assessments, which will be more student, parent, and teacher friendly while reducing test time by 75 percent.”

Governor DeSantis Announces New Surgeon General

On September 21, 2021, Governor DeSantis announced the appointment of Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, Ph.D, as Florida Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health.

Dr. Ladapo was recently granted a professorship at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine. Prior to joining UF, he served as an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) caring for hospitalized patients. A graduate of Wake Forest University, Dr. Ladapo also holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a Ph.D in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Governor DeSantis Announces New Department of Health Rule to Prevent Healthy Kids from Quarantining

On September 22, 2021, Governor DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of Health (DOH) issued a new rule empowering families to decide whether their healthy child should be taken out of school after an exposure to COVID.

Emergency Rule 64DER21-15 is effective as of September 22, 2021 and has the following impact:

  • Prevents the unnecessary exclusion of healthy students from in-person schooling;
  • Safeguards the rights of parents and legal guardians and their children;
  • Provides health protocols for symptomatic or COVID-19 positive students; and
  • Provides opportunities for parents and legal guardians to choose which protocols to implement when their student has had direct contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
Governor DeSantis and Cabinet Approve Florida Forever Land Acquisition and Conservation Easement

On September 21, 2021, Governor DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved seven Florida Forever land acquisitions and conservation easements that will protect Florida’s fragile natural environments in Hardee, Hendry, Indian River, Leon, Okeechobee, and Santa Rosa counties.

The properties approved today, totaling nearly 20,000 acres, will be managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS). Six of the seven projects are within the newly designated Florida Wildlife Corridor.

The Governor and Cabinet agreed to acquire a conservation easement over 6,665 acres within the Kissimmee-St. Johns River Florida Forever project in Indian River and Okeechobee Counties. This property features habitat important for the Florida grasshopper sparrow, sandhill crane, mottled duck, wood stork, crested caracara, and other imperiled wildlife species. This acquisition is within the Florida Wildlife Corridor. This conservation easement will be monitored by DEP’s Office of Environmental Services.

FWC Gopher Tortoise Recipient Site Program

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is seeking landowners to help with gopher tortoise conservation efforts as part of the agency’s Gopher Tortoise Recipient Site Program. The program benefits landowners and tortoises and is compatible with other land uses, such as hunting and wetland mitigation.

The program offers a variety of conservation benefits to gopher tortoises. Tortoises benefit by being moved out of harm’s way when relocated from development sites to the safety of FWC-permitted recipient sites. Recipient sites minimize the loss of tortoises, preserve habitat, restock depleted populations and promote genetic diversity of the species. Managing properties and habitat for the gopher tortoise has a conservation benefit for more than 350 other species that have been documented using gopher tortoise burrows. Many of these species are also state or federally listed.

FWC staff will assist property owners whose lands meet the recipient site criteria throughout the application process. They will also help landowners make improvements to their land to improve quality habitat for gopher tortoises and other wildlife.

For more information on the Gopher Tortoise Recipient Site Program, click here.

For more information of the Landowner Assistance Program, click here.

Constituent of the Week

The constituent of the week is Ryan Cleasby of Melbourne. At just 17-years-old, Ryan is a freshman at Jacksonville University earning a highly selective and competitive Navy ROTC scholarship, and is the founder of the nonprofit group, Funds for Flights, Inc. This organization raises necessary funds for Space Coast Honor Flight and other organizations in support of U.S. Veterans. Ryan leads the charge in generating donations through selling rustic wooden flags, funnel cakes, car washes, driveway pressure-washing, and other forms of service. Most recently he was recognized at the annual Space Coast Honor Flight Stars and Stripes event for providing $5,000 to assist our local veterans to fly from Florida to Washington, D.C. to visit their war memorial monuments; for many, it is their first time to our nation’s Capital.   

With aspirations to become a Naval Aviator, Ryan’s accomplishments as a proud Eagle Scout in Troup 314 and a Venturing Crew 314 member have set him on a path to leadership and achievement of his goals. He created the Space Coast Trail Club as an extra-curricular outdoor club to introduce Brevard County teens and Boy Scouts / Venture Crew members to the activity of trail riding. This club helps scouts and teens keep active, build confidence, and learn more about the sport of mountain biking / trail riding. Participants can also attend Cycling Merit Badge courses to earn one of their Eagle Required Merit Badges.

In 2018, at a routine rowing team pool party, a teammate misjudged a backflip and struck his head on the edge of the pool. Ryan acted swiftly and applied his scout training to provide life-saving treatment to his injured friend and was awarded the prestigious Medal of Merit.

I applaud Ryan Cleasby for his compassion and accomplishments, and wish him the best in his future ambitions and endeavors!

Interim Committee Week Update

During committee weeks, we have the opportunity to hear reports from state agencies and prepare legislative priorities for the upcoming session.

The Senate Committee on Reapportionment met on Monday, and Chairman Ray Rodrigues reviewed the constitutional processes of reapportionment and redistricting. The Florida Legislature launched a joint website, www.FloridaRedistricting.gov and a new interactive map drawing application for the 2022 redistricting cycle. This new website allows the public to draw and submit redistricting plans for consideration after signing up for a free account.

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson said: “The way people communicate with everyone, including their legislators, has changed a lot in the last 10 years, and this new joint website is going to reflect those great technological advancements. Our staff have been working tirelessly to integrate recently received census data with the new map-drawing application so legislators and the public can appropriately and actively participate in this once-in-a-decade process in a tangible and meaningful way.”

For more information and to participate in Florida’s redistricting process visit https://www.floridaredistricting.gov/

The Senate Education Committee met on Tuesday. Senior Chancellor, Jacob Oliva, gave a presentation on K-12 Standards, Assessments, and Student Support. To read the presentation, please click here.

The Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee met on Wednesday. Brigadier General, Stephen “Birddog” Purdy, Jr., Commander of the United States Space Forces’ Space Launch Delta 45, virtually participated in the committee meeting to brief Senators on our space presence and operations. Space Florida also gave a presentation on their successful efforts to foster growth and development of a sustainable aerospace industry in our state. To view the presentation package, please click here

The Senate Transportation Committee met on Wednesday and received a presentation of Florida’s Electric Vehicle Master Plan. The key objectives of the plan are to support short- and long-range travel and emergency evacuation, adapt state highway infrastructure, and ensure availability of charging stations. In addition, Florida Power and Light (FPL) gave a presentation on their electric vehicle charging initiatives. Currently, FPL has an electric vehicle pilot program called FPL EVolution. This pilot program enables FPL to learn about this technology prior to mass adoption.

To read the FDOT’s Electric Vehicle Master Plan, click here.

Upcoming Events

2021 Brevard Legislative Delegation Meeting

To register to present at the delegation meeting, please click here.

 

District 17 Highlights

Brevard County

Brevard County Commission Approved Cultural Support Grants

The Brevard County Commission approved cultural support grants for 17 local arts and cultural organizations and events. The Cultural Support Grant Program is designed to promote cultural tourism in Brevard County by funding tourist-oriented cultural and special events, such as visual and performing arts, including theater, concerts, recitals, opera, dance, art exhibitions and other tourist-related activities. The grants are funded from money generated by Brevard County’s 5% tourist development tax on hotel rooms and other short-term rentals. 

Brevard Humane Society Hosts “Blessing of the Animals”

The Brevard Humane Society will host “Blessing of the Animals” at 5:00 PM on Monday,

October 4, 2021. All pets are invited to take part in a special pet blessing at the Brevard Humane Society’s Heavenly Paws Chapel, located directly behind their Cocoa Adoption Center, at 1020 Cox Road. Blessings will be performed by the Spirit Riders Ministries. The “Blessing of the Animals” celebrates St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of all creatures great and small.

 

Indian River County

Volunteers Needed for Head Start Community Read Weeks

Head Start is an early childhood development program for at-risk, low-income children ages three to five years old. Head Start prepares children for school readiness. The program provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, dental, and family engagement services to improve the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of children.

The Head Start Community Read Weeks return October 4th though October 15th. The Economic Opportunities Council of Indian River County invites members of the community to come to a Head Start classroom to read to the children.

To volunteer to read to the children, contact Nancy McCurry to schedule a date, time, and location. Call (772) 562-4177 ext. 1114, or email nmccurry@eocofirc.net.