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: