State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 07/31/2022

Good Morning!

The Back to School Sales Tax Holiday will be in effect until August 7th. This includes back to school supplies and clothes as well as many other necessities.

Tax free items include:

  • School supplies and learning aides costing $50 and less.
  • All clothing, backpacks and footwear costing $100 and less.
  • Computers, computer accessories, and software costing $1,500 or less.

Tax exemption for growing Florida families, however, will keep certain items tax exempt for a longer period of time, and some necessities will be exempt until Summer of 2023. The following items will be tax exempt:

  • Diapers: July 1, 2022 until July 1, 2023.
  • Children’s clothing and shoes: July 1, 2022 until July 1, 2023.
  • Children’s books: May 14th until August 14th.

For more information on the Tax Exemption Holiday, please click here.

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.

Statewide Update

Absentee Ballots in Florida

Policy for Vote by Mail, or Absentee Ballots, have changed this election cycle. Requests for vote-by-mail ballots must be received in your local Supervisor of Elections office no later than 5:00 pm on the 10th day before an election. The Primary election for the state of Florida will be held on August 23rd, 2022. The General election will be on November 8th, 2022.

Contact your local Supervisor of Elections to request a vote-by-mail ballot. You may request a vote-by-mail ballot in person, by mail, email, fax or by phone. Only the voter or a designated member of his or her immediate family or legal guardian can request a vote-by-mail ballot for the voter. Immediate family means the designee’s spouse, parent, child, grandparent or sibling of the designee or of the designee’s spouse.

As a voter requesting a vote-by-mail ballot you must provide your:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • Driver’s License
  • signature (written requests only)

For more information on absentee ballots, click here.

Governor Ron DeSantis Makes 50 Judicial Nominating Commission Appointments

On July 20th Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointments and reappointments to Florida’s Judicial Nominating Commissions. The following members of District 17 have been chosen to represent Florida’s Judicial Circuit.

  • 4th Judicial Circuit Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission: Casey Walker, of Vero Beach, is a Member at Murphy & Walker, P.L. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his law degree from the University of Florida. Walker is appointed from a list of nominees recommended by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2026.
  • 18th Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission: R. Scott Robinson, of Melbourne, is a Shareholder at Eisenmenger, Robinson, Blaue & Peters, P.A. He received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Florida. Robinson is reappointed from a list of nominees recommended by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2026.

Congratulations to all those appointed to Florida’s Judicial Circuits.

Governor DeSantis Announces Initiatives to Protect Floridians from ESG Financial Fraud

On July 27th, Governor DeSantis announced an initiative to protect Floridians from environmental, social, and corporate (ESG) movements that threaten the American economic system.

Governor DeSantis said, “The leveraging of corporate power to impose an ideological agenda on society represents an alarming trend. From Wall Street banks to massive asset managers and big tech companies, we have seen the corporate elite use their economic power to impose policies on the country that they could not achieve at the ballot box. Through the actions I announced today, we are protecting Floridians from woke capital and asserting the authority of our constitutional system over ideological corporate power.” 

Governor DeSantis’ proposed legislation for the 2023 Legislative Session will:

  • Prohibit big banks, credit card companies and money transmitters from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs.
  • Prohibit State Board of Administration (SBA) fund managers from considering ESG factors when investing the state’s money.
  • Require SBA fund managers to only consider maximizing the return on investment on behalf of Florida’s retirees.

The proposed initiatives will amend Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices to also prohibit discriminatory practices by large corporations based on the ESG social credit score metrics. An ESG score is created by companies to meet ESG standards and include factors such as religious and political affiliation, industry engagement and other ESG benchmarks. The new policy will render these violations to be considered unfair trade practices and will be punishable by law.

For more information on ESG, click here.

Constituent of the Week

Our Constituent of the week is Zachary Biddulph. Though he spent four years sailing around the world with his parents on their catamaran, Sea Quest, Zachary Biddulph, 31, was born and raised in Brevard County. Mr. Biddulph graduated from Satellite High School in 2010, and participated in Project SEARCH, which prepares young people with disabilities for success in competitive integrated employment.

(Zachary featured second from left)

Mr. Biddulph is a resident and volunteer at Promise of Brevard, a community for those with special needs. At Promise, Mr. Biddulph is an inspiration for those around him. Mr. Biddulph is a Special Olympics Bowling athlete. He is a motivated competitor for the annual Health First Mayor’s Fitness Challenge and was on the winning team for the internal challenge at Promise last year. He was also selected to represent Promise in Brevard for the Dancing for the Space Coast, as a part of the 8th Annual Brevard County Fundraiser supporting local charities. The event was held on June 4th, 2022.

Mr. Biddulph also leads a philanthropic life, from volunteering in the kitchens to writing donors of Promise to thank them for their contributions. He has also worked at Imperial Salon and Spa for the last nine years.

District 17 thanks Mr. Biddulph sincerely for his dedication to giving back to the community and for inspiring those around him. To learn more about Promise in Brevard, click here.

District Highlights

Brevard County Appoints Attorney 

On July 19th, Brevard County Commissioners announced that West Melbourne City Attorney Morris Richardson would succeed Abigail Jorandby, and represent their legal interests beginning September 5th.

Mr. Richardson said, “I am grateful for this opportunity. I am excited to, once again, serve this board and the people of Brevard County.”

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Richardson was the assistant county attorney for a little over 10 years, having taken the job in August, 2015.

We wish Mr. Richardson well in his new position in Brevard County.

Indian River State College to Receive $15,000 Grant for Arts Projects Award

On July 11th, The Indian River State College (IRSC) was approved for a $15,000 Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Grants for Arts Projects Award is the first grant that IRSC has received from the National; Endowment for the Arts. The grant will support the school in an updated, translated version of Sor Juan Ines de la Cruz’s play “Amor es mas Laberinto” stage production. The College plans to make the translation available so that other universities can use it to study and produce versions of this important piece themselves.

The National Endowment for the Arts Chair, Maria Rosario Jackson said, “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including Indian River State College, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives. The arts contribute to our individual well-being, the well-being of our communities, and to our local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”

For more information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment Grant announcement, click here.

Free Health Clinic Opened for the Uninsured

A free health clinic has opened at Operation Hope in Indian River County for people ages 18 to 64 who are uninsured.

The Fellsmere Volunteer Medical Clinic, run by Dr. Fredy Delacruz, is open to seeing those who are uninsured on a half a day schedule, two days during the week.

The clinic is a part of Operation Hope, founded by Jesse Zermeno, who has been working to provide medical services, food and school supplies through his foundation. Through teaming up with Dr. Delacruz, the small clinic was opened at Operation Hope in order to provide medical care to those who might not otherwise be able to receive it.

The clinic is run entirely by volunteer physicians and nurses who donate their time each week.

The Fellsmere Volunteer Medical Clinic is open Monday from 9:00am until 12:00pm, and Wednesday from 1:00pm until 4:00pm at Operation Hope, 12285 Fellsmere Road, Fellsmere FL.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call: 772- 571- 6250

Port Canaveral Junior Ambassador Program 

Applications are now open for the Port Canaveral Junior Post Ambassadors program. The 2022-2023 year is open to all sophomore and junior high school students in Brevard County. There are no GPA or essay requirements to apply.

The Canaveral Port Authority Junior Ambassador Program enables students from public high schools and private high schools within Brevard County to explore career opportunities at the Port. The program also seeks to provide workforce development to Port partners and community outreach.

During the school year, students meet with Port leaders in such areas as cruise, cargo, military, environment, hospitality, commercial space flight and construction. The students’ final project will be a presentation that features what they’ve learned. Junior Ambassadors will share their presentations with the Commission and with students at their respective schools.

For more information, or to apply to the Port Canaveral Junior Ambassador Program, click here.

Agency Highlight

St. John’s River Management District’s Governing Board

The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) is an environmental regulatory agency of the state of Florida whose work is focused on ensuring a long-term supply of drinking water, and to protect and restore the health of water bodies in the district’s 18 counties in northeast and east-central Florida. While the district works closely with utilities on water supply issues, the district is not a water supplier.

District officials recognize the need to have water resources available for people’s needs and to balance those needs with nature’s needs. Due to that recognition, the SJRWMD and the legislation have been able to secure the following funds in order to assist in conservation efforts:

Legislative Support Highlight (2022-2023 State Budget)

$2,250,000 – Annual allocation to St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) to assist its land management activities and land acquisition/conservation efforts. This is in addition to the historic levels of environmental funding I have championed and helped secure during my time in the Florida Senate.

Brevard County Grand Canal Muck Removal Project – Phase IV

Estimated Construction Cost – $1,287,110

SJRWMD contribution – $321,777

This project consists of the fourth phase of muck dredging, dewatering, and upland disposal of over 26,000 cubic yards of muck in 14 acres in the northern finger canals in Grand Canal. The estimated nutrient load reduction water quality benefit to the Banana River is 4,763 lbs/yr Total Nitrogen and 293 lbs/yr Total Phosphorus

Brevard County Pioneer Road Denitrification

Estimated Construction Cost – $220,000

SJRWMD Contribution – $55,000

This project consists of installing a fiberglass continuous skimmer to capture the floating vegetation entering the ditch that flows to the Banana River (Sykes Creek/ Barge Canal). The estimated nutrient load reduction water quality benefit to the Banana River is 382 lbs/yr Total Nitrogen and 49 lbs/yr Total Phosphorus.

Brevard County Flamingo Drive Denitrification

Estimated Construction Cost – $218,929

SJRWMD Contribution – $54,732

This project includes the installation of an underground stormwater treatment chamber fitted with biosorption activated media. The estimated nutrient load reduction water quality benefit is 151 lbs/yr Total Nitrogen and 31 lbs/yr Total Phosphorus.

For more information on the St. Johns River Water Management District, click here..

Upcoming Events

Studios of Cocoa Beach Art Gallery Reopening

The studios of Cocoa Beach Art Gallery is hosting a Grand Reopening Celebration from 6:00pm to 9:00pm on August 5th at their new address, 159 Minuteman Causeway, Cocoa Beach. The event will include refreshments, and the opportunity to meet the local artists, as well as live music by Dave “Honey” Miller and others.

The Studios of Cocoa Beach was founded in 2016, and is a non-profit gallery with a mission to inspire, educate and enrich the community through art. The gallery showcases local artists, and hosts art classes for artists of all skill levels.

For more information on the Studios of Cocoa Beach Art Gallery, click here.

First Friday Art Gallery Stroll

The First Friday Art Gallery Stroll is held the first Friday of every month, and will be held August 4th, from 5:00pm until 8:00pm at the Historic Downtown Arts Village, Vero Beach, FL.

Enjoy the galleries, shops and restaurants as you stroll along 14th Avenue and through the Arts District.

Established in 1916, and originally home to the city’s first public school, Main Street Vero Beach is dedicated to enhancing the city by supporting historic preservation efforts, highlighting local art, and helping businesses to flourish.

For more information about the Historic Downtown Arts Village, click here.

NASA aiming for August launch of Giant Moon Rocket

NASA has announced that the new, giant moon rocket could launch as soon as August 29th. The flight will be a three month lunar test flight with three mannequins rather than live astronauts. The flight will mark the beginning of NASA’s Artemis Program. The 30 story Space Launch System rocket is currently docked at the Kennedy Space Center undergoing maintenance in preparation for the launch. 

Pending the launch’s success, astronauts could return to the moon and land there in 2025. The last moon exploration was done in 1972, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin being the first of mankind to walk on the planet’s surface. June 20th, 2022 marked the 53rd anniversary of Apollo 11’s successful voyage.

For more information on Nasa’s Artemis Program, click here.

State of the Schools

On August 2nd, Sr. Mark Mullins, Superintendent for Brevard Schools, the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sheriff Ivy are coming together and leading the State of the Schools program in order to discuss safety measures and the success of our students. The event will be held at Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School, 1500 Minuteman Causeway.

You may choose to partake in the luncheon and program for $20 or attend the program only for $5. Lunch begins at 11:00am and registration is required.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Staff Highlight

New Staff- Ariana Aubuchon

I am happy to announce the addition of a new staff member to my team, Ariana Aubuchon. Ariana is a Boston, MA native who graduated from Northeastern University before attending Suffolk University’s State and Local Government Policy Master’s Program.

Prior to joining our team, Ariana worked in the Minority Leadership Office in the Massachusetts State Senate.

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and visit my Senate website

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  

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:

Kelli Lane

Yvette Campbell

Ariana Aubuchon

Joshua McWilliams