State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 12/05/2021

Good Morning!

In this edition of the Mayfield Minute we have included information on Federal mandates, CFO Jimmy Patronis’ initiative on fighting insurance fraud, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s initiative on protecting Floridians against retail theft, local stories, and upcoming events.
 
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

Update on Federal Vaccine Mandates

 
On November 29th, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri issued a preliminary injunction against the implementation and enforcement in 10 states of the CMS Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination rule. On November 30th, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the implementation and enforcement of the same rule, with the exception of the 10 states covered under the first preliminary injunction. CMS has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the rule pending future developments in the litigation.
 
On November 30th, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction against the implementation and enforcement in three states, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, of the Office of Management and Budget’s Guidance to Federal Contractors and Subcontractors. A similar challenge brought by Attorney General Moody is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida with oral arguments scheduled for December 7th. Twenty-seven states have brought challenges in seven district courts.
 
 

New Property Insurance Fraud Fighting Squads at Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit

 
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis recently announced during the Florida Chamber Annual Insurance Summit, the formation and deployment of two new property insurance fraud fighting squads dedicated to combat property insurance fraud in Florida. The CFO’s Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS) encompasses all law enforcement and forensic components residing within the Department of Financial Services and investigates insurance fraud, workers’ compensation fraud, arson and the misuse of state funds.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Every year as CFO, I’ve worked to protect Florida consumers and combat rising insurance rates in our state. Whether it’s tackling AOB abuse, curbing post-disaster fraud, or stopping unscrupulous contractors, eliminating fraud is key to keeping insurance costs in check. Since I took office in 2017, our fraud unit has made more than 4,500 fraud and arson related arrests. These efforts have resulted in a total of more than $173 million in court ordered restitution.”
 
 

Attorney General Moody Launches FORCE to Protect Floridians Against Retail Theft Crime Sprees Plaguing Cities in Other States

 
 
Attorney General Ashley Moody is fighting back against organized retail theft as 70% of store owners nationwide report an increase in crime over the past year. Most of the high-profile, smash-and-grab cases are taking place outside of Florida in cities like San Francisco, where several multi-day crime sprees disrupted holiday shopping. To prevent lawlessness in Florida and protect retailers and shoppers, Attorney General Moody today launched the Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange, a first-of-its-kind, statewide task force and a new interactive database to help spot trends, identify suspects and take down massive organized retail theft rings. The database is designed to bridge the gaps between retailers, law enforcement and prosecutors by allowing shareable, searchable information on incidents of theft statewide.
 
 

Safety Tips for Right Whale Calving Season

 
If you plan to boat or fish in the Atlantic Ocean this winter, be on the lookout for North Atlantic Right Whales who are calving in state and federal waters off Florida, Georgia and South Carolina from November through April. These endangered mammals are extremely hard to spot and collisions have caused costly damage to boats, put passengers and crew at risk, and injured and killed Right Whales. With fewer than 350 left, Right Whales are one of the world’s most endangered large whale species. 
 
Protect your boat and crew by doing the following:
 
  • Go slow, which could give you time to react. 
  • Post a lookout! Watch for black objects, whitewater and splashes. 
  • Avoid boating in the dark, when visibility is poor, or in rough seas. 
  • Use the Whale Alert app to know if whales have recently been sighted or reported in your area. 
  • Check for signage at your local boat ramp or marina as a reminder of what to look for and how to identify and report Right Whale sightings.
  • If a whale is spotted, slow down, operate at slow speed or put your engine in neutral if possible. Assess the scene and slowly leave the area while keeping watch. Never pursue or follow a whale and keep at least 500 yards from Right Whales (it’s the law). 
  • Report whale sightings and collisions immediately to the U.S. Coast Guard on marine VHF Ch. 16 or call 1-877-WHALE-HELP (942-5343).

Committee Week Update

 

The Senate Select Subcommittee on Congressional Reapportionment, chaired by Senator Jennifer Bradley, and the Senate Subcommittee on Legislative Reapportionment, chaired by Senator Danny Burgess, publicly workshopped new draft maps produced by the Senate Committee on Reapportionment professional staff. The new maps represented minor revisions and adjustments to the plans that were workshopped by the respective select subcommittees the week of November 15. 
 
The plans are published and available at www.FloridaRedistricting.gov where they may be viewed interactively or downloaded from the Submitted Plans page for independent analysis. 
 
As with the previous map plans, the new plans were created pursuant to the directives and standards unanimously approved by the Reapportionment Committee members during the October 18 meeting. The agreed-upon directives were outlined in a memo to the committee Staff Director and can be found here
 
The reapportionment and redistricting processes will continue to be discussed in the select subcommittees with their feedback and recommendations going to the full committee for consideration during the upcoming 2022 Regular Session, which begins Tuesday, January 11, 2022.
 
 
The following bills were heard by the Senate during Committee Week #6:
 
SB 608 Sanitary Sewer Lateral Inspection Programs: Authorizes counties and municipalities to access any sanitary sewer lateral within their jurisdictions to investigate, clean, repair, recondition, or replace the sanitary sewer lateral.
 
SB 7014 Extension of COVID-19 Liability Protections for Health Care Providers: Extends the length of time that health care providers receive certain liability protections from COVID-19-related claims. According to legislation passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, liability protections from COVID-19-related claims apply to claims accruing within 1 year after the effective date of the act, which was March 29, 2022.
 
SB 232 State Park Fee Discounts: Revises the current benefit on state park fees provided to active duty members and honorably discharged veterans of the United States Armed Forces (U.S.A.F.), National Guard, or reserve components of the U.S.A.F. or National Guard. Current law provides a qualifying servicemember or veteran with a 25-percent discount on an annual entrance pass. This bill limits the benefit to Florida residents and includes a lifetime family annual entrance pass at no charge.
 
SB 500 Back-to-school Sales Tax Holiday: Creates a 10-day Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday to help Florida families save money as they purchase the necessary school supplies for their students to be successful in the classroom. The legislation eliminates taxes on clothing and footwear costing $60 or less, backpacks costing $60 or less, school supplies costing $15 or less, and personal computers and accessories costing $1,000 or less during the designated holiday, which will run from July 29 to August 7, 2022.
 
SB 800 Economic Development: Establishes the Rural Opportunity Tax Refund Program to encourage the creation and retention of stable, high-quality jobs in the rural communities of Florida. The legislation provides a $6,000 tax refund for each job created in a qualified target industry, creates tax exemptions for electrical energy and certain building materials purchased by eligible businesses, and expands eligibility requirements for the Rural Job Tax Credit Program for new and existing businesses.
 
SB 830 Sales Tax: Reduces the state sales tax on new mobile home purchases from six percent to three percent. This legislation cuts the state sales tax on new mobile homes in half and will provide Floridians greater access to one of the most affordable forms of housing available.
 
SM 302 Recognizing Veteran Suicide: Urges the United States Congress to recognize the epidemic of suicides among veterans and to fully fund suicide prevention efforts in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
 
Several mental health resources are available to Florida’s more than 1.5 million veterans. Last Session, the Florida Legislature authorized the FDVA to establish a veteran-dedicated support line through dialing 211 to provide veterans and their families with behavioral health care referral services. Other helpful resources include: 
 
  • Veterans Crisis Line(National): 1-800-273-TALK, Press 1 
  • Florida Veterans Support Line: 1-844-MYFLVET (693-5838) 
  • Crisis Center of Tampa Bay 
  • Local 211 Resources 
  • Watch Stander Training, available statewide later this month: www.TheFireWatch.org 
  • The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs website.
 
 

Constituent of the Week

 

Our constituent of the week is Gifford Youth Achievement Center’s (GYAC) Executive Director, Angelia Perry. Ms. Perry is well known throughout Indian River County for her accomplishments and longstanding service to the community. She began her service with the GYAC in 2002 as the Community Liaison for the Front Porch Florida Initiative, started by Governor Jeb Bush. Following this, she was selected to serve as interim director of the GYAC until her position was made permanent in 2007. 
 
Among many other assets she has brought to GYAC, her grant writing talents have increased the financial stability of GYAC, and she played a pivotal role in renegotiating GYAC’s land lease with the County from 30 years to 100 years. The Center currently operates five days a week with programs for adults and seniors in the morning and vibrant academic programs for youth during after-school hours. Aside from her work with the GYAC, she also co-founded Boys 2 Men 2 Greatness, a program that pairs teenage boys with male role models, who together experience field trips, college tours, and educational adventures.
 
Ms. Perry’s professional affiliations includes the Association of Fundraising Professionals, IRC Chamber Leadership Alumni, Member of the Progressive Civic League of Gifford, FL Inc., Visiting Nurse Association Treasure Coast Board, Riverside Children’s Theatre Advisory Board, Children’s Home Society Advisory Board Treasure Coast Division, NAACP, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, SDIRC Grading Calculation Committee, Past President of Bethune Cookman University Alumni Association of IRC, Past President of Community Oriented Police Enforcement (COPE) and being a past volunteer for the Gifford Youth Orchestra. Additionally, she was honored as the 2021 Junior League Woman of the Year for 2021.
 
Thank you, Angelina Perry, for your service to our community. District 17 is privileged to have you as a member of the community.

District 17 Highlights

 

Brevard County

 
Keep Brevard Beautiful announces new anti-littering initiative along State Road 528
 
Keep Brevard Beautiful announced a new anti-littering initiative along State Road 528 to help alleviate the littering problem in the area. The “Pick it up, Pack it out” campaign is a joint effort between KBB, Brevard County, Florida Department of Transportation, Port Canaveral and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. 
 
Money provided by Brevard County helped KBB allocate a new trailer and dumpster to use in the area. Volunteers will now have easier access to popular spots where litter can accumulate and keep those areas litter-free. Florida Department of Transportation helped secure additional funds to add 36 signs warning of a minimum $150 fine for littering. Additionally, a grant from the Space Coast Office of Tourism will allow KBB to conduct more frequent trash pick-ups in the area. 
 
 
Save Our Indian River Lagoon (SOIRL) Program Reaches Historic Milestone After Completing 50 Restoration Projects
 
Five years after Brevard County voters approved a half-cent sales tax to clean up the Indian River Lagoon, county, state, and municipal officials have officially marked the completion of the 50th restoration project and announced another 50-plus projects. In 2016, Brevard County voters passed a half-cent sales tax to benefit lagoon health and restoration from Mims to Micco, and including the mainland, Merritt Island, and the Barrier Island.
 
The SOIRL Program prioritizes and implements projects to improve the health, productivity, aesthetic appeal, and economic value of the lagoon. Projects are designed to reduce pollution and nutrient loading to the lagoon, remove accumulated muck, restore key points of the lagoon ecosystem and respond to changing conditions and information.
 
Since its inception, SOIRL projects have included 43 septic upgrades, septic tanks (32 quick connects and 360 through septic to sewer projects,) and shoreline protection that includes 27,290 square feet with oysters and 3,753 linear feet of planted vegetation.
 
 

Indian River County

 
Indian River County Parks & Recreation to Host Third Live Well! Speaker Series Event on Physical and Mental Wellness
 
The Indian River County Parks & Recreation Department, in partnership with the Senior Collaborative of IRC and the Florida Blue Foundation, will host its third Live Well! Speaker Series for active adults on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 10:00 AM at the Intergenerational (iG) Center, located at 1590 9th Street SW Vero Beach, FL 32962.
 
The Live Well! Speaker Series is a FREE six-part series focusing on important health and wellness topics for residents ages 55 and older. The December 8th event will feature information concerning physical and mental wellness. Guest speakers include Brett Hall, Executive Director of the Mental Health Collaborative of Indian River County, and Vicki Soule, Director of Treasure Coast Community Health.
 
The meeting is available for participants to attend in person or virtually via Zoom:
  • To join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android, click here.      (Password: 614047)
  • Join by phone: 
                   602-333-2017 
                   888-204-5987 (US Toll Free)
                   Conference code: 122065
 
 
Elite Airways to Resume Flights from Vero Beach in 2022
 
Elite Airways will resume flights into the Vero Beach Regional Airport in 2022. The airline temporarily moved services to the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport in September when the Vero Beach airport began improvements. The improvements include repaving the runway and replacing signs, edge lights and other navigational aids. Elite has provided service at the airport since December 2015 and was the first to provide commercial flights through Vero Beach since American Eagle in the mid-1990s. Elite provides flights to Newark, New Jersey; White Plains, New York; and Portland, Maine. The airline will offer flights to Newark starting March 25th.

Upcoming Events

 

Space Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra to Present Annual Holiday Concert ‘Snowman Season’

 
​The Space Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra is a creative environment where pre-college age musicians, ages 8-18, from every imaginable social, cultural, and economic background across Brevard and Indian River Counties come together to rehearse and perform classical symphonic masterworks and more.
 
The Space Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra will present the annual holiday concert with participation from all three of its musical groups on Sunday, December 12th, at 3:30 PM at Cocoa Beach Junior/Senior High School, located at 1500 Minutemen Causeway, in Cocoa Beach.

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: