State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 08/07/2022

National Kid’s Day!

Today, August 7th, is National Kid’s Day. Established in 1994 by the National Children’s Charity, KidPeace, National Kid’s Day celebrates the children in our lives. 

It was a day created to encourage parents to spend more time with their children. The founders of KidPeace established three main goals for the charity, and for this national awareness day.

 

  • Create awareness of the needs and values of children.
  • Change the way people look at and treat children.
  • Contribute to a world in which children can be safe, feel loved, have the freedom to grow and enjoy being young.

“The best thing that we can give our children is time.” – Arnold Glasglow

 

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

Scams Targeting College Students

Whether your college student is just beginning their freshman year, or returning to college this upcoming fall, they may be at risk of being scammed as they search for scholarship opportunities and financial aid. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services warns that fraudulent websites advertising false scholarships are common, so here are some things to keep in mind as they begin their online search.

  • Free scholarship and financial aid help is available from many sources, so be wary of any services that charge high prices to help you with your applications.
  • Complete your financial aid application on the official Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website.
  • Be wary of giving out your bank account information and never give out personal information over the phone. 
  • Always double check to ensure the website is credible.

To learn more about FAFSA, and opportunities for financial aid, click here.

AG Ashley Moody: Beware of Seven Summer Scams

Attorney General Ashley Moody highlights seven main scams that can affect Floridians during these summer months.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “We are near the midway point of the summer season. Vacations are coming to an end as families prepare to send students back to school, but don’t count on scammers slowing down. Please keep your guard up and take precautions to avoid falling prey to scams through the remainder of this summer and beyond.”

See the following tips to help you avoid these scams.

  • Vacation Rental Scams: Fake vacation home or hotel offers listed online may require an application fee, security deposit or personal information to reserve. Be sure to do proper research before providing any money or information to potential accommodation hosts.
  • Free Wi-Fi Scams: When traveling, people typically connect to public Wi-Fi to save data. There are a multitude of ways hackers take advantage of public Wi-Fi, but all are easily avoidable if the correct precautions are taken.
  • Front-Desk and Fake-Menu Scams: Travelers should be aware that scammers may impersonate hospitality staff, who call targets at random and claim a credit card payment is being declined. After establishing trust, these fraudsters will ask for confirmation of the credit card number, expiration date, and verification code.
  • Online ‘Summer Deals’ Scams: Many online retailers host huge summer sales, and scammers may mimic these events to target consumers with malware, phishing texts, and other messages designed to steal personal or financial information.
  • Storm-Preparation Scams: Hurricane season is underway and unscrupulous contractors may offer phony stormproof products or construction services for a huge deposit. Check a contractor’s credentials and online reputation. Research stormproof product claims. Get multiple written estimates and be cautious before paying money upfront. 
  • Low-Cost Moving Scams: Summer is traditionally one of the most popular times of the year to move since it falls between academic school years. Knowing the most common signs of moving scams can help prevent unexpected high costs, lost items or even property being held for a ransom.
  • Summer-Employment Scams: Students out of school looking for summer jobs may be at risk of employment scams—this scam can also emerge as high schoolers and college students look for part-time jobs during the academic year. Receiving a job offer is exciting, but Attorney General Moody recommends Floridians do research on the perceived opportunity before answering personal questions or providing sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers.

To report scams, contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office at 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or MyFloridaLegal.com.

Governor DeSantis Announces Opioid Recovery Program

On August 3rd, Governor DeSantis, along with Florida healthcare officials, announced a new expansion to the addiction and recovery programs to help combat the ongoing Opioid crisis. This network of addiction care, known as Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE), is the first in the nation. Successfully piloted in Palm Beach County, it will now be expanding to 12 counties in order to help with overdose cases. In 2022, there have been almost 2,000 fatal overdose cases in Brevard County alone, with a majority of the cases tied to Opioids and Fentanyl.

“Biden’s border crisis has caused a massive infusion of drugs coming into our state,” saidGovernor Ron DeSantis. “This year we increased the penalties for individuals trafficking drugs in our state, and now we are giving Floridians the tools they need to break the substance abuse cycle. Substance abuse can affect any family at any time, so from education to law enforcement to treatment we are going to make sure that Floridians can take advantage of this new addiction recovery model.” 

Floridians battling addiction can report to a CORE treatment site in order to gain medical attention and the skills needed to combat addiction.

For more information on CORE, click here.

The Florida Python Challenge

August 5th marked the start of the annual Florida Python Challenge, a yearly event meant to help remove the population of the invasive Burmese Python. 

Each year, hunters, enthusiasts, and reptile experts alike travel to the Everglades to participate in the 10-day challenge. During this time, Burmese Pythons can be humanely captured and killed in an effort to preserve the wildlife that is native to Florida.

Burmese Pythons, while non-venomous, are destructive to the Everglades eco-system and often grow to over 15 feet. Snake owners will occasionally release these animals into the wild, where they feed off of native animals such as birds, fox, rabbits, and alligators as they continue to grow larger. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Burmese Python is larger than any of Florida’s native snakes, typically ranging between six and 15 feet, yet they are capable of growing to over 20 feet long.

Along with playing a part in protecting the Everglades’ eco-system, hunters who compete in the challenge can win cash prizes by capturing the largest number of snakes, as well as the largest in size. 

For more information of the Florida Python Challenge, click here.

First Lady Casey DeSantis Launches Cancer Connect

Florida is second in the nation in the highest number of new cancer cases.  On August 3rd, First Lady Casey DeSantis launched the Florida Cancer Connect, an initiative that focuses on cancer treatment resources, caregiver tools, and stories from cancer survivors on 

one website.

First Lady DeSantis said, “When I was going through my cancer fight, I saw the need for a centralized hub that housed everything patients and caretakers could need while dealing with this disease. Florida Cancer Connect arms Floridians with valuable knowledge while instilling hope into the lives of those facing cancer by sharing positive survivor stories. Our mission with this website is simple – make the cancer battle easier and instill hope in those fighting.”

The Florida Cancer Connect website, offers tools that help Floridians to:

  • Understand cancer research and prevention programs,
  • Locate a health care provider specializing in cancer care,
  • Navigate the complexities of cancer related insurance coverage,
  • Obtain caregiver resources, and
  • Hear testimonials from Floridians who have fought this disease.

This website provides resources and support to Florida cancer patients.

For more information on the Florida Cancer Connect, click here.

Constituent of the Week

Betsy DeVos

Our Constituent of the Week is Betsy DeVos. A native of Holland, Michigan, she graduated from Calvin College with a degree in business economics. Mrs. DeVos has been a resident of Vero Beach since 1997.

Mrs. DeVos is a philanthropist and the former United States Secretary of Education under President Trump. She has advocated for the Detroit Charter School System and is a former board member of the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Mrs. DeVos is one of the country’s most influential advocates for educational reform from school choice to charter schools. Her new book, “Hostages No More” highlights the need to protect freedom of speech for students, and focuses on common sense improvements throughout our education system. She is also an advocate and staunch supporter of teachers, educators, and parents.

Mrs. DeVos said, “Education broadens our horizons, and enables us to confront realities we’d never before anticipated.” 

District 17 is privileged to know Betsy DeVos, a lifelong educator and steadfast supporter of students seeking to better their lives and opportunities through education.

District Highlights

It’s Back to School for Brevard County and Indian River County Students and Teachers!

Wednesday, August 10th marks the first day of classes for the 2022-2023 School Year for Brevard County and Indian River County students and teachers. We wish all families a smooth transition and a very successful academic year.

For information on bus routes, bus safety, and frequently asked questions:

Brevard County school bus Information, click here.

Indian River County school bus Information, click here.

Brevard County Public Schools are working together with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department, and Indian River County Public Schools and the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department are doing the same, to provide your children with a safe school experience.

To learn more about school security for Brevard County, click here.

To learn more about school security for Indian River County, click here.

Brevard Zoo New Additions

On July 28th, the Brevard Zoo welcomed its newest members, two White-Nosed Coati, named Sky and Rita. Coati are members of the racoon family, and native to South America and the Southwest region of the United States. 

Sky and Rita were born in Texas and brought to the Brevard County Zoo as a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ White-Nosed Coati Species Survival Plan. They will join the existing five members of the Coati family, and can be seen in the Rainforest Revealed Exhibit at the Brevard Zoo.

For more information on the Brevard Zoo, click here.

Agency Highlight

Department of Education

As our teachers, students, and parents are preparing for the new school year, I wanted to provide you a quick update from the Florida Department of Education on their newly appointed Commissioner, State Senator Manny Diaz.

On June 1st, Governor Ron DeSantis recommended State Senator Manny Diaz to be appointed as the Commissioner of Education. Senator Diaz had served in the Florida Legislature since 2012 and most recently sponsored education legislation supporting students and families including:

  • Eliminating the FSA,
  • Creating the Charter School Review Commission,
  • Establishing a proclamation on “Victims of Communism Day”,
  • Reforming higher education,
  • Requiring financial literacy teaching in schools, and
  • Expanding access to Family Empowerment Scholarships.  

Commissioner Diaz worked as a public-school teacher, coach, assistant principal, and school administrator. His classroom experience helped to prepare him to serve as Commissioner of Education. He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Thomas University, a master’s degree in education from Nova Southeastern University, and completed a Harvard Graduate School of Education program for school principals.

 

“Manny Diaz has done a great job in the Legislature on education issues ranging from teacher pay to parental rights and choice,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am confident that he will serve our state well as the Commissioner of Education.”

 

“It is an honor to be recommended by Governor DeSantis to serve as the Education Commissioner,” said Senator Manny Diaz, Jr. “For my entire career I have worked to improve the education system to serve Florida’s students, parents, and teachers. I am excited to get to work continuing the mission of the Governor to make Florida the Education State.”

Commissioner Diaz went on to say, “Florida will continue to serve students, parents, and educators in our quest to provide students with a world-class education that meets the unique and individual needs of all students.”

In the coming weeks, I will share more on the mission of the Florida Department of Education and the vast educational services they provide from K-12, post-secondary, career and technical, teacher certifications, exceptional student needs, scholarship programs, and much more. 

Upcoming Events

Indian River Lighted River Boat Parade

The Indian River County Chamber of Commerce is promoting the Indian River Lighted Boat Parade which will take place on August 12th at Burt Lake next to DeVoe Beach. The parade route will begin at 9:30 p.m. There is no fee to enter a boat in the parade and it is open to the public to watch and enjoy. In case of rain, the parade will take place on August 13th.

For more information, please call (231) 330-6833 or (313) 720-3052.

Florida Department of Transportation Meetings

BREVARD COUNTY: The Florida Department of Transportation is hosting a meeting to discuss the project plans regarding West Haven Avenue from I-95 to Babcock Street. The meeting will take place at the Melbourne Auditorium, 625 E. Hibiscus Blvd. in Melbourne on Tuesday, August 16th at 5:30 p.m.

The meeting may be attended:

  • In person
  • By phone (listen only) by calling, 877-309-2074 (enter passcode 279-070-496)
  • Virtually; for this option advanced registration is required, click here. Once registered, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY:  The Florida Department of Transportation is hosting a meeting regarding proposed improvements for the new interchange at I-95 and Oslo Road and the widening of Oslo Road from East of I-95 to SW 58th Avenue. The meeting will take place at the Richardson Center at Mueller Campus (IRSC), 6155 College Lane, Vero Beach on Wednesday, August 17th at 5:30 p.m.

The meeting may be attended:

  • Virtually on Monday, August 15th at 5:30 p.m. please register using the link here:
  • By phone on Monday, August 15th at 5:30 p.m. by dialing in to +1 (562) 247-8321, Access code 934-051-552
  • In person on Wednesday, August 17th at 5:30 p.m. at the Richard Center at Mueller Campus (IRSC)

For more information or assistance regarding the Brevard County or Indian River County FDOT meetings, contact Kelli Lane at Lane.Kelli@flsenate.gov.

Brevard’s 2nd Annual Back to School Skin Fair for Teens

The 8 Esthetics Spa and Wellness Center, located at 6050 Babcock Street SE, Palm Bay, is offering free back to school facials for teenagers August 1st to August 15th.  Teens ages 13 to 18 are invited to receive a therapeutic facial treatment as well as complimentary skincare advice.  All facials are provided by a licensed esthetician.  

Appointments are necessary and can be made by calling 321-345-3559. 

Staff Highlight

New Staff- Joshua McWilliams

I am happy to announce the addition of a new staff member to my team: Joshua McWilliams. Joshua is a native of Versailles, Kentucky, but grew to love Florida when he visited his grandfather here as a child. Joshua has his BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Kentucky. He has also earned his Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 2009.

Prior to joining my team, Joshua practiced civil, criminal, estate, probate, and family law for 13 years. 

In his spare time he is an avid fisherman and enjoys restoring classic cars.

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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:

Kelli Lane

Yvette Campbell

Ariana Aubuchon

Joshua McWilliams