State Senator Debbie Mayfield – mayfield Minute 11/7/2021

 

Good Morning!

 
Veterans Day is this Thursday, November 11th. Florida remains the number one state in the nation for our military and veteran communities, home to more than 1.5 million veterans. The Florida Legislature is committed to recognizing the sacrifices these brave men and women make for our nation and ensuring they receive the benefits they deserve for their service and sacrifice.
 
We honor the brave men and women who have served faithfully to protect the freedoms we so greatly enjoy. Please take the time to thank a veteran and their families for all of the sacrifices they have made to keep our country safe.
 
As a reminder, set your clocks back today! Daylight saving time officially ended at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning. Daylight saving time was initially an energy conservation plan that began in the late 1800s. Through a long history of enactments and prohibitions, daylight saving time was officially implemented uniformly across the nation in 1966. Currently, only two states do not participate–Arizona and Hawaii. To read the full history of daylight saving time, click here.
 
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 don’t hesitate to contact my office. My staff and I are here to serve you!

Veterans Day 2021

 
On November 11, 1918, an armistice was signed to end fighting by the Allied Troops and Germany. The war officially ended months later when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Exactly one year after the armistice, President Woodrow Wilson decreed that Americans should observe a moment of silence on November 11 to remember the armistice and to celebrate peace. By 1938, there were so many parades and celebrations commemorating Armistice Day, Congress made it a national holiday. However, after World War II and the Korean War, Americans wanted to open the holiday to celebrate all veterans in the United States. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower legally changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in order to honor all veterans who served in the American Military.
 
At the end of World War II, Florida recognized the need to provide services to returning service members and created a division within state government to connect veterans with their earned benefits. In 1988, Florida voters approved a Constitutional Amendment to create a Cabinet Agency to “Honor Those Who Served U.S.” Today, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs is the premier point of entry for Florida veterans to access earned services, benefits and support.
 
The Florida Veterans Foundation operates for charitable and educational purposes and works closely with the 67 County Veteran Service Offices, which are “frontline” for Florida veterans and local veteran organizations providing hands-on care our veterans. The Foundation’s website at www.HelpFLVets.org continues to help veterans and their families by providing important emergency assistance information and links.
 
The Florida Veterans Crisis Line is available for 24-hour counsel. Call the Florida Veterans Support Line at 1-844-MyFLVet (693-5838) or 2-1-1. The number for the National Veteran Crisis Hotline is 1-800- 273-8255. Veterans in Florida suffering from opioid addiction issues can contact Clean Slate Outpatient Addiction Medicine at www.cleanslatecenters.com or call 833-505-4673 (HOPE).
 
Many Florida veterans and their families are unaware of earned VA benefits available such as VA Pension with Aid and Attendance, which helps subsidize the cost of Long Term Care. Visit www.helpflvets.org/aging-wartime-veterans for more information.
 
The Florida Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division offers a program called Military and Veterans Assistance Program (MVAP). This program was created to help educate military members and veterans on the types of scams that target their communities, what they can do to protect themselves, and how they can help protect others by reporting scams and deceptive business practices.
 
The Department of Financial Services offers two financial education programs specifically for veterans: Financial Frontlines and Serve Save Succeed. Financial Frontlines is an online initiative that provides information to help families fight against financial frauds and debt with the use of an in depth Resource Guide, a series of tip sheets and an educational video library. Serve Save Succeed is a financial literacy resource and online forum for current and former military service members and their families on finance-related topics.
 
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services support veterans by expediting Concealed Weapon or Firearm License Applications submitted by active military members and veterans. FDACS also waives first-time licensing application fees for veterans, their spouses, or a business entity in which the veteran or spouse has a majority ownership stake.
 
One of our state’s most popular state benefits for veterans are the Property Tax Exemptions. Eligible resident veterans with a VA certified service-connected disability of 10% or greater are entitled to a $5,000 deduction on the assessment of their home for tax exemption purposes. Real estate owned and used as a homestead by an honorably discharged veteran with a service-connected, permanent and total disability is exempt from taxation. Any partially disabled veteran who is age 65 or older, any portion of whose disability was combat-related, and who was honorably discharged, may be eligible for a discount from the amount of ad valorem tax on the homestead, commensurate with the percentage of the veteran’s permanent service-connected disability. The unremarried surviving spouse of a disabled ex-servicemember, who on the date of the disabled ex-servicemember’s death had been married to the ex-servicemember, is also entitled to this exemption.
 
Florida waives undergraduate-level tuition at state universities and community colleges for Florida recipients of the Purple Heart and other combat-related decorations superior in precedence to the Purple Heart. The waiver program also includes the state’s career and technical training facilities.
 
Connecting veterans with earned benefits, services and support is the top priority for the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. To view a full list of state veteran benefits please visit FloridaVets.org. For assistance on this or any veteran-related issue, call (727) 319-7440 and they’ll return your call within 24 hours. You may also email them at VSO@fdva.state.fl.us.
 
To view the Florida Veterans’ Benefits Guide, click here.
 
 

Local Events Honoring Veterans in District 17

Free Admission to Florida State Parks
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is offering free admission to Florida State Parks for all visitors on Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11th, in gratitude for the courageous men and women who served in the nation’s armed forces. To view a list of Florida State Parks, click here.
 
City of Melbourne Veterans Day Parade
The City of Melbourne is hosting their Veterans Day Parade on Thursday, November 11th, 2021 at 10 a.m. The parade will pass the Melbourne Auditorium and surrounding neighborhood, and Downtown Melbourne. For more information on the parade route, click here.
 
IRSC to Honor Veterans at Pruitt Campus Event
The Department of Military & Veteran Services and Indian River State College (IRSC) will host a special celebration on Wednesday, November 10, from 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. at the IRSC Pruitt Campus at 500 N.W. California Blvd. in Port St. Lucie to recognize and honor all students, staff, faculty, and community members who are Veterans. For more information on the event, contact Camilo Medina, IRSC Veterans Student Success Coordinator, by clicking here.

Statewide Updates

 

Florida Lawsuit Against Biden Administration’s OSHA Employer Vaccine Mandate

Governor DeSantis announced a lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s unconstitutional Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) employer vaccine mandate. Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls issued the following joint statement regarding the lawsuit:
 
“We commend Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Moody for defending the rights of Florida workers and business owners by bringing an immediate challenge against this unconstitutional overreach by the Biden Administration. Business owners across Florida respect and rely upon the proper role OSHA plays in monitoring workplace safety in high-risk occupations. Today, though, it has become even clearer that OSHA is being weaponized by the Biden Administration not to protect workers, but to institute an illegal and unconstitutional nationwide vaccine mandate that robs Americans of the dignity of work. As we have said before, the Florida Legislature looks forward to pursuing separation from OSHA and creating Florida’s own safety and health standards that reflect the views and values of our state. In addition, we offer our full support and commitment to fund the lawsuit announced by Governor DeSantis today. The Legislature has always been a voice for employees and business owners across Florida who are busy working and who don’t have the time or the resources to review and implement a 490-page emergency rule or to independently fight back against unconstitutional federal mandates. We will not stand by while the Biden Administration pits hardworking Floridians against their employers.”
 
 

Federal Contractor Mandates

On November 1st, the federal guidance for vaccine mandates was updated. Federal contractors will now have more flexibility in regards to enforcement of the Federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The date to comply with the new guidelines for federal contractors and certain healthcare workers will now be January 4th, 2022.
 
To read the new guidance, click here.
 
 

Wild Turkey Hunting Permit

Florida is home to two subspecies of wild turkey — the eastern wild turkey and the Osceola or Florida wild turkey. If you would like to participate in the hunt of wild turkeys this spring at select wildlife management areas, you must apply for a quota/limited entry hunt permit.
 
The Phase I Application for Spring Turkey opened November 1st and the deadline to apply is November 30th. The application and permit is free. Applicants can apply online or by completing an application worksheet and presenting it to any license agent or tax collector’s office. Limited permits will be issued and drawing results are typically posted within three business days after the application period ends.
 
To apply, click here.

Interim Committee Week #4 Update

 
In addition to committee hearings, I met with various state agencies and organizations in my office this week. I want to recognize the following groups and individuals for taking the time to meet with me to discuss their legislative priorities:
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  • The University of Florida
  • AMIKids
  • STEP, Inc
  • The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Brevard County Clerk of Courts
  • The National Association of Gun Rights
  • Indian River State College Student Government Association
 
The Senate Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs hosted a panel discussion on issues relating to Florida’s Behavioral Health System, the Baker Act and Marchman Act, and First Responder Suicide Prevention. Members of the panel discussion included representatives from DCF, USF, Centerstone of Florida, SMA Healthcare, the City of Fort Walton, and Integrated Healthcare. To watch the meeting, click here.
 
The Senate Committee of Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security heard a presentation by Major General James S. Hartsell and Lauren Stentz from the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs on available mental health and suicide prevention services. To watch the meeting, click here.
 
The following bills were heard by the Senate during Committee Week #4:
 
SB 434 Florida Tourism Marketing: Extends the scheduled repeal date of VISIT FLORIDA from October 2023 to October 2031. VISIT FLORIDA is Florida’s official tourism and marketing corporation that promotes our state around the country and internationally as a premier destination.
 
SB 370 Offenses Against Firefighters: Enhances penalties for certain crimes committed against firefighters who are performing their official duties to protect our families and communities.
 
SB 224 Regulation of Smoking in Public Places: Allows counties and municipalities to further restrict smoking within the boundaries of public beaches and public parks and prohibits smoking within the boundaries of a state park.
 
SB 312 Telehealth: Allows audio-only telephone calls to be considered a method of telehealth and narrows the prohibition on prescribing controlled substances through telehealth.
 
SB 268 Proclamation of “Victims of Communism Day”: Establishes “Victims of Communism Day” as a legal holiday to be observed on November 7 to honor and remember the more than 100 million people across the world who have fallen victim to communist regimes.

Constituent of the Week

 
Our constituent of the week is Indian River County Commissioner, Susan Adams. Commissioner Adams grew up in Fellsmere, where her family is deeply rooted. Her father, Tom Adams, and mother, Fran Adams have a long history of involvement both locally and state-wide. Her father was a former State Senator, Secretary of State, and Lieutenant Governor in Florida and her mother was an Indian River County Commissioner, holding the District 1 seat that her daughter now holds. After watching her parents serve, she was inspired. She reflects being raised on the mantra “if you are going to be part of a community you must take part in the community”.
 
Leaving Indian River County for a short period of time, she went on to obtain a degree in marketing and a Juris Doctorate from Florida State University in 2004. After law school, she returned to Indian River County and assumed a management position with her family’s business, Marsh Landing Restaurant in Fellsmere. After several years of working and volunteering in the community, Ms. Adams’ desire to become more involved led her to accept a seat on the City of Fellsmere Planning and Zoning Board. In 2007, Ms. Adams successfully ran and was elected to the Fellsmere City Council. Following this, she went on to be elected Mayor of Fellsmere from 2008 to 2015. Building on her experience with the City of Fellsmere, Ms. Adams successfully ran and was elected to serve as an Indian River County Commissioner in 2016.
 
In addition to serving on numerous public boards and committees, Ms. Adams also serves as a board member of the Mental Health Association of IRC, United Way of IRC, Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce, Sebastian River Medical Center, and the Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, which her mother was responsible for founding. Ms. Adams was also named Woman of the Year by the Junior League of Indian River in 2016.
 
Thank you, Commissioner Adams, for you and your family’s continued support of local communities and our great state. District 17 is privileged to have you as a member of the community.

Upcoming Events

 

Indian River Lagoon Day

The cities of Melbourne, Palm Bay and Satellite Beach, and the Brevard County Natural Resources Management Department are hosting the Indian River Lagoon Day on Saturday, November 13th. This event is focused on celebrating the significance of the Indian River Lagoon and will feature free kayaking, food trucks, local vendors, and environmental exhibitors. The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be at Front Street Park located at 2205 Front Street Melbourne, Florida.
 
For more information, click here.
 

Sherwood Park Stormwater Project Ribbon Cutting Event

 
On Saturday, November 13th, Brevard community members and public officials are invited to celebrate the completion of a $2.6 million Sherwood Park Stormwater Project with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. This project is the 50th project of the Save Our Indian River Lagoon program and resulted in a total nitrogen reduction of 3,214 pounds per year and total phosphorus reduction by about 879 pounds per year. The event will begin at 9:00 a.m. and is located at 2100 Robinhood Dr, Melbourne, Florida 32935.
 
For more information, click here.

District 17 Highlights

 

Brevard County

Aspen Institute Puts EFSC in Running for Top National Prize
Congratulations to Eastern Florida State College for being named one of 150 community colleges to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The Aspen Prize honors colleges with outstanding achievement in five critical areas: teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, and equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. The awardee is set to be announced in 2023 and is the top recognition in the United States for high-achieving community colleges.
 
For more information, click here.
 

Indian River County

Pelican Island Audubon Society’s Tree Giveaway
The Pelican Island Audubon Society is a local chapter of the National Audubon Society, located in Vero Beach. The Pelican Island Audubon Society serves as a voice for conservation in Indian River County. The local chapter holds a weekly Tree Giveaway event on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 9 a.m. -11 a.m. The following trees will be available in the giveaway: Bald Cypress, Mahogany, Southern Live Oak, Long-leaf Pine, Sand Pine, and Slash Pine. This will take place at the Audubon House located at 195 9th Street SE Vero Beach, Florida.
 
For more information, click here.
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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
 
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