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State Senator Debbie mayfield – Mayfield Minute 11/28/2021

Good Morning!

 
This upcoming week, we will conclude our last interim committee week before Session begins January 11th, 2022. Committee weeks are a great opportunity for legislators to hear updates from state agencies and proposed legislation from members prior to the start of the annual legislative session.
 
In this edition of the Mayfield Minute we have included information on Florida’s unemployment rate, safety tips for holiday shopping, upcoming events, and local stories.
 
I consider it a great honor to represent District 17. Please share this link with your friends and family so that they too can sign up for the Mayfield Minute.
 
If you or someone you know needs my assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My staff and I are here to serve you!
 

Statewide Updates

 
Florida Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.6 Percent
 
Florida continues to make economic progress with more job growth, labor force increases, and a decline in the unemployment rate. Florida has experienced 12 consecutive months of labor force increases with a growth of 29,000 over the month. Florida’s labor force growth represents a 5.8% increase over the year, which is significantly higher than the national rate of 0.5%. Florida’s unemployment rate, currently at 4.6%, also decreased by 0.2 percentage points from the revised September 2021 rate of 4.8%.
 
In total, Florida has gained 1,111,000 private sector jobs since April 2020, which represents 89% of jobs lost during the pandemic. Florida continues to see significant increases in labor force, growing 579,000 over the year as Floridians gain confidence in returning to work. Data in the month of October indicates that there continues to be more job opportunities available for Floridians throughout the state, with more than 518,000 jobs posted online.
 
Private-sector industries gaining the most jobs over the month were:
 
  • Leisure and Hospitality with 16,600 new jobs
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities with 10,400 new jobs
  • Education and Health Services with 6,600 new jobs
  • Other Services with 4,200 new jobs
  • Professional and Business Services with 3,700 new jobs
 
If you are in search of work or new job opportunities, we encourage you to visit the CareerSource Florida network for assistance.
 
 
 Safe Shopping Tips for the Holiday Season
 
Attorney General Ashley Moody is asking shoppers to take precautions this holiday season. Attorney General Moody suggests the following safety tips for consumers:
  • Avoid shopping alone as thieves are less likely to target a group of people. Invite family and friends to join when shopping in public stores;
  • If shopping with children, develop a child separation plan. Choose a designated meeting place and prepare children to be able to talk to mall security or store employees for help;
  • Park vehicles in well-lit areas and do not leave valuable items visible in a car. Cover merchandise or store it securely in a trunk. Always double-check to make sure a parked car is locked;
  • Stay aware of surroundings. Watch for loiterers and alert security of any suspicious activities; and
  • Secure shopping bags, purses and other personal items when traveling in crowds of people.
 
To view the 2021 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide, click here.

Constituent of the Week

 
Our constituent of the week is President & CEO of the Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce, Nancy Peltonen. Ms. Peltonen is an expert in strategic planning and marketing management. Prior to assuming her role as President and CEO, she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Lakehead University and a Master’s Degree in Management from The College of St. Scholastica. She began her career as an intern and advanced to Branch Manager of the multi-million dollar store, Shoppers Drug Mart, in Toronto, Canada.
 
Following her experiences in Canada, she was the Director of Marketing and Fundraising at Serene Harbour in Melbourne, which provides emergency shelter, 24/7 confidential hotlines, counseling services, transportation, relocation assistance, support groups, legal advocacy, outreach programs, referrals, and assistance programs for survivors of domestic violence. Through various fundraising initiatives throughout her 14 years at Serene Harbour, she helped the center raise over $1 million dollars to help domestic violence victims throughout the Brevard County Community.
 
In her role as President & CEO of the chamber, Ms. Peltonen has exponentially grown membership, increased programs to benefit Chamber members, implemented signature events, and advocated on behalf of the business community at the local, state, and federal levels.
 
Ms. Peltonen has also been recognized for her leadership and community involvement. These recognitions include the Community Excellence Award from the State Small Business Expo in 2017; the Heart of the Community Award from the Business Acceleration Summit in 2016, the Woman of Excellence Award from the Melbourne Regional Chamber of the East Coast in 2013, and being chosen as Woman of the Year for ABWA Space Coast Women’s Express Network in Melbourne for 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 years just to name a few. Additionally, she volunteers for local organizations such as the Maxwell King Center, Zonta Club of Melbourne, Brevard Family Partnership, Women’s Council of Realtors, March of Dimes, Space Coast Women’s Express ABWA, The Cancer Care Foundation, CivMil Golf Tournament, Bras for a Cause, the Exchange Club and Space Coast Honor flight among others.
 
Thank you, Nancy Peltonen, for your continued support of Brevard’s business community and your relentless acts of volunteerism and service. District 17 and our great state are privileged to have you as a member of the community. 
 

Upcoming Events

 
City of Palm Bay Holiday Light Parade
 
The 2021 City of Palm Bay Holiday Light Parade will be held on Saturday, December 4 beginning at 6 pm. The 3-mile parade will leave the Eastern Florida State College campus and head north on San Filippo Drive. It will then move west on Malabar Road and end at Minton Road in front of City Hall.
 
For more information, click here.
 

District 17 Highlights

 
Brevard County
 
MikeyStrong Foundation 5k Run
 
I was honored to attend the memorial 5k to celebrate the memory of local resident, Mikey Goodwin. Mikey was a vibrant 19 year old student when diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), which is a rare and deadly form of brain cancer. The memorial 5k honors Mikey and others who have lost their life to this deadly disease by raising funds to help others battling DIPG. 
 
DIPG is one of the rarest and most aggressive cancers affecting 150 to 300 patients yearly in the United States. There is currently no cure for DIPG, however, programs such as BTIP (Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program) at the University of Florida are currently researching treatments. Mikey Goodwin was a patient in this study. Additionally, initiatives such as The Cure Starts Now and the DIPG Collaborative are the biggest funders of DIPG research.
 
For more information on how you can help, click here.
 
 
Indian River County
 
 Indian River County Reopens 43rd Ave and State Road 60
 
Indian River County’s Public Works Department announced that 43rd Avenue between 16th Street and 19th Street (the section south of SR 60) was reopened on Wednesday, November 24. This was the second and final planned closure of 43rd Avenue to complete the necessary roadway reconstruction and improvements for this project. 

Contact Information
Melbourne Office
900 East Strawbridge Avenue
Melbourne, FL 32901
(321) 409-2025
 
Tallahassee Office
330 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
(850) 487-5017
 
Vero Beach Office
Administration Building B
1801 27th Street
Vero Beach, FL 32960
(772) 226-1970
 
Staff:
State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 11/21/2021

Good Morning!

 
Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I am looking forward to spending time with my family and rejoicing in our many blessings. I wish you and your family a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
 
Food donations make a holiday meal possible for many families in our community. Many of our food banks are entering their busiest time of year, so please consider purchasing a few extra items to donate to your local food bank as you begin your holiday grocery shopping.
 
To find a food pantry to donate to in your community, please visit AmpleHarvest.org.
 
In this edition of the Mayfield Minute we have included information on legislation passed during Special Session, updates on redistricting, Governor DeSantis initiatives, upcoming events, and local stories.
 
I consider it a great honor to represent District 17. Please share this link with your friends and family so that they too can sign up for the Mayfield Minute.
 
If you or someone you know needs my assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My staff and I are here to serve you!

Statewide Updates

Special Session to Keep Florida Free
 
The Florida Senate convened for Special Session 2021 B to fight back against the Biden Administration’s attempt to enforce unconstitutional, one-size-fits-all COVID-19 mandates that threaten parental rights and the ability of Floridians to provide for their families. Under the leadership of Senate President Simpson and Governor DeSantis, the Florida Legislature continues to prioritize individual freedoms, families, and job-creators over government. The “Keep Florida Free” legislative package passed during Special Session safeguards Floridians from forced COVID-19 vaccinations, forced mask mandates for school children, and federal overreach. Governor DeSantis signed the “Keep Florida Free” legislative agenda into law on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
 
House Bill 1B (Senate Bill 2B by Senator Danny Burgess), COVID-19 Mandates, prohibits private-sector employers from imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates without providing several individual exemptions, prohibits vaccine mandates for employees in government and education. In addition, the bill protects parental choice on mask mandates, COVID-19 vaccines, and quarantine policies.
 
DOH issued Emergency Rule 64DER21-17 establishing the rules and required exemption forms for private employers:
 
 
These exemptions must be offered by private employers who choose to impose a mandate. Private employers with existing mandates must change their policies to conform to the law. Employers must use the DOH forms or substantially similar forms for employees to submit exemption statements. To access the official forms, click here.
 
House Bill 3B (Senate Bill 4B by Senator Danny Burgess), Public Records/COVID-19 Vaccination Policies and Practices, creates a public records exemption for certain information, including personal health care and religious information, contained in files created during an investigation of an employer who potentially has violated the law by refusing to provide individual exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
 
House Bill 5B (Senate Bill 6B by Senator Travis Hutson), Florida Occupational Safety and Health State Plan, takes the first step toward developing a proposal to withdraw from the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and assert state jurisdiction over occupational safety and health issues.
 
House Bill 7B (Senate Bill 8B by Senator Aaron Bean), Vaccinations During Public Health Emergencies, repeals never-before-used provisions of existing law that could allow the State Health Officer to force vaccinations on Floridians during a public health emergency.
 
 
Reapportionment and Redistricting Update
 
The Select Subcommittee on Congressional Reapportionment, chaired by Senator Jennifer Bradley, and the Select Subcommittee on Legislative Reapportionment, chaired by Senator Danny Burgess, held their committee meetings and heard public testimony on draft maps produced by the Senate Committee on Reapportionment professional staff. The draft maps were created pursuant to the directives and standards unanimously approved by the Reapportionment Committee members during the October 18th meeting.
 
Senate Reapportionment Committee Chair Ray Rodrigues previously directed staff to publish the draft maps on the Legislature’s Joint Redistricting website under “Submitted Plans” by November 10th, and to publish the Subcommittee Meeting Packets on the Senate website in advance of traditional deadlines. This gave additional time for senators and the public to review the staff-produced maps prior to the committee meetings this week.
 
Plans are published and available at www.FloridaRedistricting.gov where they can be viewed interactively or downloaded from the Submitted Plans page for independent analysis.
 
The reapportionment and redistricting processes will continue to be discussed in the select subcommittees. The subcommittee’s feedback and recommendations will be submitted to the Reapportionment committee for consideration.
 
 
Governor DeSantis and Florida Department of Corrections Announced Increased Benefits for Correctional Officers
 
Governor DeSantis and the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) announced incentives for correctional officer new hires, including hiring bonuses up to $5,000. Beginning January 2022 state correctional officers starting salary will be raised to $38,750 (an increase of 16%). In addition to an increase in correctional officer salary, all current state correctional officers will receive a one-time $1,500 bonus, and state probation officers will receive a $3,000 bonus in December 2021.
 
The new bonuses offered are detailed below:
 
  • $3,000 new hire bonus for all new correctional officers;
  • $1,000 hiring bonus for correctional officers to join high vacancy institutions; and
  • $1,000 hiring bonus for certified correctional officer applicants.
 
National Adoption Month in Florida
 
November is National Adoption Month in Florida, an annual observance to celebrate the thousands of children who are adopted from foster care and bring awareness to the many children who are still waiting to find forever families.
 
In fiscal year 2020-2021, DCF reports that more than 3,800 children were adopted through foster care. Throughout the month, Florida’s Community-Based Care agencies will host family events and adoption finalization ceremonies in celebration of National Adoption Month.
 
Individuals who are interested in adopting children from foster care and want to learn more about the process, click here.
 
Manatee Conservation Efforts
 
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to address a manatee Unusual Mortality Event (UME) along Florida’s Atlantic coast. To facilitate logistics and enhance existing efforts for the winter 2021-2022 response, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and FWC are spearheading a Joint Incident Management Team under the emergency response Incident Command System (ICS). The ICS is a standardized approach to the command, control and coordination of emergency response that provides a common hierarchy that enhances the effectiveness of the response.
 
Responding to the UME requires joint efforts with numerous federal, state and private partners including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, St. Johns River Water Management District, Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, Brevard County, and Florida Power and Light.
 
Researchers have attributed the UME to starvation due to the lack of forage in the Indian River Lagoon. Historically, the lagoon has provided essential habitat to manatees year-round, and during the colder winter months many manatees depend on warm water refuges in this area.
 
Please report any injured, distressed or dead manatees to the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.

Constituent of the Week

 
This week, our constituent of the week is life-long Vero Beach resident and valued community member, Charles R. “Casey” Lunceford II. Mr. Lunceford is the current Indian River State College Mueller Campus President. Casey and his wife Brenda, who also was raised in Vero Beach, have been married for over 33 years and have one adult son, Lance. Mr. Lunceford was inspired to pursue a career in education by his parents, who instilled in him the value of improving lives through education. Mr. Lunceford went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Florida and a Master’s Degree in Music Education with Emphasis in Instrumental Conducting from Louisiana State University and
 
Mr. Lunceford started his career with Indian River State College in 1997 as an Associate Professor and Director of Instrumental Music. He served as Provost prior to his appointment in 2020 as President of the Indian River State College Mueller Campus. This year he will be celebrating his 25th year of service at the college. Due to his exemplary work as an administrator and faculty member, he was awarded the Association of Florida College’s Administrator of the Year in 2014, the IRSC Ambassador Award in 2014, and the IRSC Presidents Pioneer Award in 2021.
 
Aside from his duties at the college, Mr. Lunceford has also devoted his time to serving on a wide range of community boards in Indian River County. Some of his involvements include seats on the Indian River Chamber of Commerce Board, The Sebastian Area Chamber of Commerce, the Executive Roundtable of Indian River County, The Economic Development Council, the Veterans Council as a civilian liaison, the Gifford Youth Achievement Board, Indian River Charter High School and the Sheriff’s Citizens Advisory Committee just to name a few. On top of this, Casey is also active in his church at First Baptist Church of Vero Beach, where his family has been members for over 50 years. 
 
Thank you, Casey Lunceford, for your continued involvement in Indian River County. District 17 is privileged to have you as a member of the community.

Upcoming Events

Indian River County 14th Annual Thanksgiving Day Trot Against Poverty 5k
 
The 5k will take place on Thursday, November 25th at 7:30 a.m. The event will feature the 5k race, a one-fourth mile kids race, and include a free sweet potato pancake breakfast. If you plan to participate you must register by Tuesday, November 23rd at 7:00 a.m. The race will begin at 3200 Riverside Park Drive Vero Beach, FL US 32963.
 
The goal of this community-based event is to raise funds and awareness for the nonprofit United Against Poverty, whose mission is to inspire and empower people living in poverty to lift themselves and their families to economic self-sufficiency.
 
To register, click here.
To learn more about the event, click here.
 
Space Coast Turkey Trot 5k
 
The 5k will take place on Thursday, November 25th at 7:30 a.m. The race will begin at the Front Street Civic Center located at 2205 Front St, Melbourne, FL 32901. The Space Coast Turkey Trot 5k benefits West Shore Jr/Sr Highschool PTA and Fantastic 4-H.
 
To register, click here.
To learn more about the event, click here.

District 17 Highlights

Brevard County

New Partnership between Promise, Inc. and Brevard Achievement Center
 
Promise Inc. announced a partnership with Brevard Achievement Center (BAC). In addition to providing affordable housing, life–skills classes, and other activities for Promise’s 125 residents with special needs, one of their core values has always been to assist Promise residents in securing long–term employment. This new partnership will provide Promise residents with the same comprehensive level of employment support that BAC provides their participants. BAC’s mission to provide persons with disabilities innovative services and opportunities to achieve personal success complements the mission of Promise.
 

Indian River County

West Vero Corridor Named Most Affordable Place to Live in Florida
 
The area of Indian River County designated as the “West Vero Corridor” by the U.S. Census Bureau has been named the most affordable place to live in Florida and ranked 15 in the nation by the SmartAsset financial website. SmartAsset weighed real estate taxes, homeowners’ insurance, and home costs relative to the local median income.
 
Two Indian River County Organizations Received Humanities Grant Funding
 
Two Indian River County organizations received a total of $34,000 in grants from Florida Humanities, the Florida affiliate of the National Endowment for Humanities. The Laura (Riding) Jackson Foundation in Vero Beach received $16,000 and Vero Heritage, Inc. received $18,000. The funding is intended to meet immediate operational needs for organizations to remain viable and maintain the delivery of public humanities programming and resources in their communities.
 
To read the full report, click here.
Contact Information
Melbourne Office
900 East Strawbridge Avenue
Melbourne, FL 32901
(321) 409-2025
 
Tallahassee Office
330 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
(850) 487-5017
 
Vero Beach Office
Administration Building B
1801 27th Street
Vero Beach, FL 32960
(772) 226-1970
 
Staff: