State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 11/14/2021

Statewide Updates

 

S&P Announces Florida’s AAA Credit Rating Ranks Higher than the Nation 
Standard and Poor’s (S&P) confirmed Florida’s AAA Stable rating on Florida’s General Obligation (GO) bonds, the highest rating available, and established that Florida has earned a rating that is higher than the nation. This AAA rating reaffirms that Florida is leading in responsible governance and the Florida economy is continuing to grow and thrive. 
 
Florida’s AAA rating places the state above the nation’s rating of AA+. Florida is also outranking other high population states with California only earning a AA-, and New York only earning a AA+. S&P is one of the nation’s leading bond rating companies and provides high-quality, independent opinions on creditworthiness. 
 
The S&P report finds that Florida is in a superior position compared to the nation as a whole, asserting “Florida’s GO bonds are eligible to be rated above the sovereign because we believe the state can maintain better credit characteristics than the U.S. in a stress scenario.” The S&P report is further testimony that Florida’s commitment to job growth and investments in infrastructure and workforce education are key to having a stable economic environment. The strong rating will allow Florida to continue to provide opportunities for business growth in the long-term. 
 
 
Governor DeSantis Announces Legislative Proposal to Protect Florida’s Election Integrity
Governor DeSantis announced a new legislative proposal to further strengthen Florida’s election integrity. This proposed legislation will be addressed in the upcoming 2022 Legislative Session, which begins in January. The 2022 legislative proposal builds on election integrity legislation signed into law by Governor DeSantis in May 2021 through Senate Bill 90.
 
Governor DeSantis called on the Legislature to take four additional steps to safeguard our elections:
 
  • Establish an Office of Election Crimes and Security within the Department of State to investigate election crimes and fraud;
  • Elevate the crime of ballot harvesting to a third-degree felony, recognizing that this offense is a serious attack on democracy;
  • Require timelines for supervisors of elections to clean the voter rolls of ineligible voters; and
  • Prohibit unsecure, haphazard drop box locations in Florida.
 
 
Fully Vaccinated Travelers Permitted to Enter U.S. via Land and Ferry Border Crossings
Beginning November 8th, foreign nationals who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have appropriate documentation were permitted to enter the United States via land ports of entry (POEs) and ferry terminals for non-essential reasons such as tourism. The Department of Homeland Security reminds travelers to be prepared to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination and verbally attest to their reason for travel and COVID-19 vaccination status during a border inspection.
 
To read the full press release, click here.
 
 
Governor DeSantis Announces Launch of Anti-Drug Campaign to Prevent Substance Abuse Among Florida Youth Spearheaded by First Lady Casey DeSantis
Governor DeSantis announced the launch of First Lady Casey DeSantis’ statewide initiative: The Facts Your Future. This program directly engages youth in Florida to improve their understanding of the life-altering effects of drug abuse and empowers teens to reach their full potential. As a part of The Facts Your Future program, school assemblies will be hosted by special guests throughout the state to bring awareness to the increase in substance abuse. In addition, the program will also provide toolkits so schools can host their own assembly centered around substance abuse prevention. By engaging with students through parents and educators, this initiative focuses on direct channels that foster healthy conversations about the facts around substance use.
 
To watch the press conference, click here.
 
 
Governor DeSantis Announces Awards to Improve Water Quality
Governor DeSantis was joined by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Shawn Hamilton, and Chief Science Officer Dr. Mark Rains to announce the awards for 103 wastewater and springs projects totaling $481 million. The projects awarded will improve water quality in waterbodies across Florida, reducing total nitrogen load by more than 700,000 pounds per year.
 
The $481 million awarded today was made available through three grant programs administered by DEP – the Wastewater Grant Program, Springs Restoration grants, and the Small Community Wastewater Grant Program. DEP’s Wastewater Grant program was established in 2020 through the Clean Waterways Act.
 
  • $394 million from the Wastewater Grant Program for wastewater treatment improvements, which includes septic to sewer projects and upgrading existing facilities to advanced waste treatment facilities.
  • $67 million for projects to protect Florida’s world-renowned springs including land acquisition/conservation easements and wastewater infrastructure improvements.
  • $20 million for the Small Community Wastewater Grant Program for wastewater facility improvements in Rural Areas of Economic Opportunity and financially disadvantaged communities.
 
Indian River County received $1,568,492 in state awards and $1,488,396 in federal awards. Brevard County received $21,164,308 in state awards and $14,747,816 in federal awards. We have provided a link below to review the specific projects awarded.
 
To view the list of award recipients, click here.
 
 
Administrative Law Judge Rules in Favor of Parental Rights
On November 5th, the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings dismissed a case filed by six school districts who have disregarded the will of parents to make decisions for their children. In a landmark case, the Administrative Law Judge ruled that the Florida Department of Health had the legal authority to issue Emergency Rule 64DER21-15, which empowers parents to decide if their children should wear masks at school and ensures healthy students can remain in school.
 
Administrative Law Judge Bryan Newman found, based on the evidence presented, that “forcing asymptomatic children to wear masks in schools provides no significant barrier to the spread of Covid-19.” Judge Newman also made clear that the Department of Health has lawful authority to govern the control of Covid-19 in school settings throughout the State.
 
 
Governor DeSantis Announces Funds to Expand Career and Workforce Training Opportunities for Military Veterans and Spouses
Governor DeSantis announced that $8.6 million has been awarded to workforce development boards across the state to expand career and workforce training opportunities for military veterans and spouses seeking employment. The Governor’s announcement comes as Paychecks for Patriots Career Fairs for veterans and military families are underway across the state.
 
For a list of Paychecks for Patriots events and locations, please click here.

Constituent of the Week

 
Our constituent of the week is Senior Judge Alli “A.B.” Majeed. Judge Majeed is known in our area for his vibrant patriotic spirit and years of ethical public service. Judge Majeed immigrated to our nation from the British Colony of Guyana in South America. Both of his parents were descendants of indentured servants from India. After immigrating to the United States, Judge Majeed obtained his undergraduate degree from Howard University and his law degree from the Catholic University of America Columbus Law School. Along with other public service roles, Judge Majeed served as both Assistant Public Defender and Assistant State Attorney prior to his time on the bench. After being appointed to the bench by Governor Lawton Chiles, Judge Majeed went on to be the longest serving County Judge in the 18th Judicial Circuit with over 24 years of service.
 
Judge Majeed regularly delivered heartfelt speeches to explain why being called to jury duty was not a burden, but an honor. His contagious patriotic spirit has inspired thousands of jurors throughout his career.
 
Among a multitude of accomplishments, Judge Majeed has been honored with awards such as the Brevard Lifetime Achievement Award and most recently, the Community Leader of the Year Award from the Brevard Bar Association.
 
Thank you, Judge Majeed, for your continued patriotic support of our community. District 17 and this great state have been privileged to have been served by you.

Upcoming Events

Gifford Youth Achievement Center Open House
 
The Gifford Youth Achievement Center (GYAC) will be hosting their open house on Tuesday, November 16th at 4:00 p.m. The Center’s open house will give guests a glimpse of GYAC’s mission. The Center is located at 4875 43rd Avenue, Vero Beach, Florida.
 
To learn more, click here.
 

District 17 Highlights

 
Brevard County
State of the Port Address
 
Port Canaveral CEO Captain John Murray delivered the 2021 State of the Port address from Cruise Terminal 3 at Port Canaveral on November 10th. Captain Murray detailed the many struggles Port Canaveral endured as a result of the pandemic. Although cruise revenues were down exponentially, the cargo industry surpassed prior year numbers. Captain Murray indicated that cruising revenues are looking better going into 2022, with major cruise ships sailing, including Carnival’s new Mardi Gras and the Disney Dream. He emphasized that Port Canaveral is open for business and excited to be back in full operation.
 
 
Allegiant Begins New Nonstop Service From Melbourne Orlando International Airport to Pittsburgh
 
Allegiant recently began a new nonstop route from Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB) to Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) in Pennsylvania. To celebrate, the company is offering one-way fares on the new route as low as $39. The new route will operate twice weekly.
 
Flight days, times and the lowest fares can be found at Allegiant.com.
 
 
Indian River County
Indian River County Sheriff’s Office 2021 Shop with a Cop
 
The Annual Shop with a Cop event will take place again this year on December 18th. The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office is currently accepting applications. The deadline to apply is Friday, November 19th, 2021.This program was established to build positive relationships between police officers and the children of the community. It is a yearly event where members of different law enforcement agencies come together and spend the day shopping with children from our community. The event is geared towards families who may be facing financial difficulties. 
 
Applications are available online, with School Resource Deputy/Officers, in the main lobby of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, and at their sub-station at the Indian River Mall. All IRC students, grades K-8, including virtual, homeschool, and charter students, are eligible to apply for this program. Students chosen for the program will be mailed a notification by December 4th, 2021. The shopping will take place on December 18th, 2021.
 
To access the application, 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: