State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 07/10/2022

 

Good Morning!

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend with their family and friends and enjoyed the various activities such as parades in the morning and spectacular fireworks in the evening.

 

As a reminder, our 2022 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday begins July 25th, 2022 and runs through August 7th, 2022. The following items can be bought tax-free:

• Clothing, footwear, and certain accessories with a sales price of $100 or less per item.

• Certain school supplies with a sales price of $50 or less per item.

• Learning aids and jigsaw puzzles with a sales price of $30 or less.*

• Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories with a sales price of $1,500 or less, when purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.

I consider it a great honor to represent District 17. Please share this link with your friends and family so 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!

Fiscal Update

 
Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Record Surplus for Fiscal Year 2021- 2022

 

On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the surplus for Fiscal Year 2021- 2022 is $21.8 billion, the highest in state history and more than 21 percent above the state budget for the fiscal year. Collections in May were $742 million above estimates, and preliminary data for June collections are approximately $950 million above estimates.

Governor DeSantis went on to say, “Despite the headwinds created by the Biden administration’s policies, Florida is in a strong fiscal position because we preserved freedom and kept our economy open. Our responsible policies have allowed us to make record investments to support our communities, promote education, protect the environment, and provide record tax relief for Floridians, all while building record reserves to protect the state against the reckless fiscal policies from Washington.”

Florida’s record surplus includes:

  • $2.7 billion in Florida’s Rainy-Day Fund (Budget Stabilization Fund) – the highest in state history.
  • $15.7 billion in unallocated General Revenue.
  • $2.8 billion in unallocated trust funds.
  • $499 million in the newly created Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund.
  • Florida continues to outpace the nation as Florida’s businesses continue to have robust employment opportunities.

The unemployment rate has remained steady at 3.0 percent, and 0.6 percent point lower than the national rate. Florida’s statewide unemployment rate has been lower than the national rate for 18 consecutive months since December 2020, and has declined or held steady for 22 consecutive months.

Between May 2021 and May 2022, Florida’s labor force grew by 313,000, or 3.0 percent, faster than the national labor force growth rate of 2.2 percent over the year.

Between May 2021 and May 2022, Florida’s total private sector employment grew by 459,500 jobs (5.9%), faster than the national private-sector job growth rate of 5.1 percent over the year.

As of May 2022, Florida employers have added jobs for 25 consecutive months since May 2020. Florida’s private sector over-the-year job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s for 14 consecutive months since April 2021.

Statewide Update

 
Attorney General Moody Warns Floridians About Vacation Rental Scams

 

On Thursday, Attorney General Ashley Moody highlighted the potential of fake vacation rental scams within our state. These scams involve fake postings offering vacation rental properties. The scammers behind these ads often request an application fee or security deposit. Once payment is made, the rental listing may disappear along with the consumer’s money. Families may also show up on the day of vacation and find that the actual owners of the property have no record or intention of renting. Vacationing Floridians and the millions of tourists who travel to Florida each year often fall victim to these scams.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the nation. Scammers will take advantage of this by creating fake vacation rental listings in hopes of stealing personal information and money. Whether you are traveling within the state or from out of state, make sure to take extra precautions when renting a vacation home to avoid being burned this summer vacation season.”

Tips to avoid vacation rental scams:

  • Know that listings requiring consumers to leave the online platform or website to pay is a major red flag.
  • Check to see if photos of the rental property are affiliated with other listings by using a reverse image search.
  • If something seems suspicious, ask for additional photos of the listing.
  • Use a reputable rental website that offers protection in the event of fraud or offers payment transfer options.
  • Make payments through a payment portal on the listing website to ensure money is held in escrow until keys are in hand.
  • Do not rely solely on email to contact the landlord and be wary of listings with foreign telephone numbers.
  • Check for reviews and, if possible, visit the property to ensure everything is up to par.
  • Pay for a rental with a credit card since it is easier to dispute a fraudulent charge.

Anyone who encounters a vacation rental scam should immediately report it to local law enforcement and file a complaint online with the Florida Attorney General’s Office at MyFloridaLegal.com or call 1(866) 9NO-SCAM.

 
Governor Ron DeSantis Announces the Appointment of Peter Antonacci as Director of the Office of Election Crimes and Security

 

On Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Peter Antonacci as Director of the Office of Election Crimes and Security, housed within the Florida Department of State. The Office of Election Crimes and Security is charged with investigating all election crimes in Florida and overseeing the implementation of measures that will ensure Florida’s elections remain secure. Antonacci has had an extensive career in public service, including experience in election security as a Deputy Attorney General, Statewide Prosecutor, and Broward County Supervisor of Elections.

“Peter Antonacci has dedicated his career to serving the state of Florida,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am confident he will lead the Office of Election Crimes and Security with integrity and ensure that Florida’s elections are the most secure in the nation.”

Antonacci’s long career in public service began as a trial prosecutor in the Second Judicial Court and has included many other roles, most recently serving as Director and Chief Judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings, following his appointment as Broward County Elections Supervisor in 2018. Previous to that role, Antonacci served as Deputy Attorney General of Florida under former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, CEO of Enterprise Florida, General Counsel to former Governor Rick Scott, Palm Beach County State Attorney, and Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District. Antonacci graduated from Florida State University School of Law.

Following Antonacci’s appointment, Brian Newman will begin immediately serving as acting Director and Chief Judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings.

Constituent of the Week

Our constituent of the week is newly-retired Judge Lisa Davidson. Judge Davidson was born and raised in Meridian, Mississippi. After graduating from Meridian High School, Judge Davidson earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1974, and her Juris Doctor from the prestigious Duke University Law School in 1977.

Prior to her work on the bench, Judge Davidson lived in Broward County, where she gained trial experience as an assistant public defender and assistant state attorney. In Brevard County, she maintained a private practice for more than a decade, specializing in family law.  

Judge Davidson’s judicial career began in 1994 as a county court judge. In 1998, she was appointed to the circuit bench where she served without opposition for more than two decades. In 2019, Judge Davidson was elected by her peers to a two-year term as Chief Judge of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit. She has also served as an Associate Judge on the 4th and 5th District Court of Appeals. 

  

As a result of her tireless work ethic and devotion to public service, she has received numerous awards and recognitions. Some of these recognitions include being named Homeless Advocate of the Year by the National Veterans Homeless Support (NVHS), presented with the Distinguished Judicial Service Award by Florida Supreme Chief Justice Charles T. Canady, Trial Judge of the Year by the Central Florida Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, as well as being named “Outstanding Judge of the Year” four times by the Brevard County Bar Association. In addition to these awards, Judge Davidson has been appointed to several gubernatorial and Florida Supreme Court committees, including the statewide Commission on Professionalism and the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee (JEAC.)

  

After 28 years on the bench, Judge Davidson retired on June 30, 2022, but the mark she leaves on Florida’s judiciary is a lasting one. 

District Highlights

 
Sarno Road Railroad Crossing Remains Closed

 

On Thursday, Brightline trains announced that the Sarno Road railroad crossing in Melbourne will remain closed until 7:00 p.m., Friday, July 29th as Brightline completes upgrade work on the Orlando extension project. The crossing work has been extended due to relocation of utilities in the work zone, including two water mains and one forced main sewer line. The City of Melbourne is completing the relocation and businesses along Sarno Road will remain open through the construction period.

The safety improvements at the Sarno Road railroad crossing will include roadway profile improvements, new gates and signals, enhanced signing and striping, drainage improvements as well as pedestrian sidewalks and gates. Brightline is set to complete construction on the Orlando extension by the end of 2022 and begin carrying passengers in 2023. 

For more information on this project, click here.

 
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Offers Teen Driving Courses

 

The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Sheriff’s Association have partnered to offer a Teen Driving Challenge. The Teen Driving Challenge is a “hands on” course that improves driving skills, vehicle awareness, and the development of good driving habits. The course aims to protect young drivers while significantly reducing the number of injuries and deaths associated with traffic accidents. 

Participants must be high school students who have a restricted permit or driver’s license. During this one-day course, teens will learn techniques on vehicle control, crash avoidance, and more. Students must use their own vehicles and it is recommended they use the vehicle they will most likely be driving. All instructors are Brevard County Sheriff Deputies. Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a certificate of completion. Certificates may be presented to your auto insurance company for a possible reduction in your insurance premium.

Topics include:

  • Car Driving
  • Knowing your Vehicle
  • Using your Senses
  • Vehicle Dynamics
  • Safe Driving Habits
  • Alcohol and Driving
  • Aggressive Driving

Class runs from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm at the Eastern Florida State College Driving Pad, 250 Community College Parkway, Palm Bay, FL 32909. The upcoming classes will be held on the following dates:

  • June 11th
  • June 25th
  • July 16th
  • July 23rd
  • Aug. 13th
  • Aug. 27th
  • Sept. 10th
  • Sept. 24th

For more information contact the Program Coordinator by calling 321-264-7755.

Upcoming Launches

One of the most unique components of living in Brevard County is watching the various spacecraft soar right from your own backyard. Here are two of the upcoming launches at Kennedy Space Center:

July 14th: SpaceX CRS-25

Company / Agency: SpaceX for NASA

Rocket: Falcon 9

Location: Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center

Launch Time: TBD

About: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the company’s 25th mission under contract from NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. An uncrewed Cargo Dragon capsule will take science experiments, food, water, and other supplies to the orbiting outpost.

August (Date TBD): Artemis I

Company / Agency: NASA

Rocket: Space Launch System

Location: Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center

Launch Time: TBD

About: NASA’s highly anticipated Space Launch System will make its premiere for this mission known as Artemis I. It does not include astronauts, but the uncrewed Orion capsule will fly around the moon before returning to Earth for splashdown. If successful, it will pave the way for astronauts to do the same on Artemis II and, eventually, land on the lunar surface for Artemis III.

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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

Staff:

Karly Smith

Kelli Lane

Yvette Campbell