State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 08/28/2022

Good Morning!

The 2022 Primary Election was held Tuesday, August 23rd in Brevard County, Indian River County, and throughout Florida. 

For full Florida Primary Election results, click here and note the tabs on the left side of the webpage for Federal Offices, State Offices, Multi-County, and District Offices.

You can also visit the Supervisor of Elections websites for your County to access the latest updates. For Brevard, click here and Indian River, click here.

The general election will be held on November 8th. Be an informed voter by taking the time to educate yourself and do your own research on the candidates and their positions. 

“A properly functioning democracy depends on an informed electorate.”

— Thomas Jefferson

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

 
Governor DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet Invest More than $56 Million to Acquire Nearly 20,000 Acres for Conservation

 

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet invested more than $56 million to acquire seven properties across the state that will be designated for conservation. The seven parcels total nearly 20,000 acres, more than 98% of which are within the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a recently designated network of connected lands that are crucial for wildlife habitat.

 

“Acquiring lands for conservation and recreation is a top priority for my administration,” said Governor DeSantis. “Conservation of these key properties will forever benefit water quality, rare wildlife habitats and corridor linkages, as well as support Florida’s ever-growing economy.”

 

To learn more about properties that make up the 20,000 acres acquired for conservation, click here

 

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Has a New Commissioner

 

Governor Ron DeSantis announced the approval of Mark Glass as Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Glass has been the Acting Commissioner since May 1, 2022.

 

“As Acting Commissioner, Mark has led the brave men and women of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement with honor and integrity,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.“In less than four months, he has made major strides towards combating Biden’s Border Crisis, safeguarding Florida’s elections, and advancing FDLE’s crime fighting capabilities. I am proud to appoint him as Commissioner and I have the utmost confidence he will continue to serve and protect all Floridians.”

 

Since June of 2022, FDLE has played a key role in a strike force of state and local law enforcement to interdict human smuggling and human trafficking and to seize illegal weapons being transported through the state. The strike force has undertaken three criminal interdictions, the most recent of which concluded August 21.

The first two interdictions, along I-10 in Northwest Florida and along I-75 in Hernando and Sumpter counties, resulted in 16 charges of human smuggling, 102 total felony charges, and the seizure of more than $300,000 worth of illicit drugs. The most recent interdiction was conducted statewide, and more information will be available in the near future. 

 

Additionally during Commissioner Glass’ tenure, Governor DeSantis announced that FDLE, in coordination with the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor and newly created Office of Election Crimes and Security, is arresting 20 individuals for breaking elections laws.

To learn more about Commissioner Glass’ career experience, click here.

 

CFO Jimmy Patronis Celebrates NASA Kennedy Space Center 60th Anniversary

 

Last week, during a meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis presented a resolution celebrating the 60th anniversary of the NASA Kennedy Space Center and its role in space exploration and as a global leader in scientific discovery. The Kennedy Space Center employs over 2,000 civil servants, 6,100 government contractors, and generated $5.25 billion economic impact in 2021.

 

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “The Kennedy Space Center holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Floridians across the state. Many of us can remember the first time that we watched a shuttle being launched from Florida’s beautiful space coast. Florida has served as the launchpad for many young Americans who have dreamed of shooting for the stars and achieving their dreams. Due to NASA’s achievements in space exploration, our civilization has experienced unprecedented technological progress and inspired future generations to continue the American tradition of pushing boundaries and exploring the unknown.”

Congratulation to NASA Kennedy Space Center for six decades of distinguished innovation, serving as the world’s leading space institution, inspiring the imaginations of children generation after generation, and pursuing exploration of the universe.  

To view CFO Patronis’ proclamation, click here

 

FDOT Unveils Groundbreaking Statewide Notification System to Enhance Safety for Drivers and Roadway Workers

 

Florida is first in the nation to implement this technology

With the support of Governor Ron DeSantis’ historic Freedom First Budget, the Florida Department of Transportation continues to invest in further enhancements increasing safety on road and bridge construction projects across the state. Safety remains the Department’s number one priority, and this new technology will enhance safety for the traveling public and also for the men and women who are on site working to improve Florida’s roadways.

 

The Lane Closure Notification System (LCNS) will improve the safety of workers by alerting drivers about active work zones or lane closures, it will also aid motorists in navigating these work zones safely, timely, and efficiently. The system leverages the latest GPS and mapping technologies to provide advanced notices to motorists through leading GPS apps and services.

Drivers can now count on real-time and accurate work zone information through their preferred mapping app or device. These notices are put into the system by supervisors who are located on the scene of the work zone.

Overall, the anticipated benefits of the LCNS include:

  • Reduction in work zone crashes, fatalities, and serious injuries.
  • Improved worker safety.
  • More construction lane closures identified and tracked in real-time.
  • Automatically share real-time lane closure information with travelers via third-party navigation application systems and automated driving systems.
  • Improved travel time reliability and reduced congestion by informing road users about lane closures.

A statewide rollout to over 500 construction projects is anticipated over the next few months and will be published to navigation apps such as Google Maps, Waze, TomTom, and Apple Maps as the mapping companies decide to utilize the feature.

 
SunPass Savings Announced for Daily Toll Road Commuters

 

Governor Ron DeSantis announced the launch of “SunPass Savings,” a new toll discount program for customers who use Florida’s Turnpike System and toll facilities owned by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). This rewards program will begin September 1, 2022, run for six months, and is estimated to provide $38 million in relief to SunPass commuters. Additionally, Governor DeSantis called on the Legislature to take necessary action during next year’s legislative session so more Florida families can benefit from toll relief.

 

“This program will help frequent SunPass customers keep more money in their pockets during a time of growing inflation,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida families who depend on these FDOT facilities for a timely commute to work will benefit from these savings. We will, of course, seek to enact greater savings for commuters in the next legislative session.”

 

Drivers with 40 to 79 eligible toll transactions per month will receive a 20% discount and drivers with 80+ eligible toll transactions per month will receive a 25% discount. 

A map of included toll facilities and more information on the program can be found here.

 

30th Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew

 

This past week marked the 30th Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew. The category 5 storm was the first named storm in 1992. It struck Miami-Dade County on August 24th causing unprecedented financial and property damage, loss of life, and also led to an overhaul of the way hurricanes and other major weather crises are forecasted. The recovery and rebuilding processes were also improved. 

Although we have been fortunate that the 2022 Hurricane Season has been fairly quiet, the tragedy and aftermath caused by just one storm can effect lives and the economy for decades.

Florida has an abundance of resources to help you with a storm preparation plan for your family and your property. Don’t be complacent, be prepared, click here to learn more.

 
Florida’s “Tool Time” Sales Tax Holiday Begins September 3rd

 

The 2022 Sales Tax Holiday for tools commonly used by skilled trade workers, apprentices, and “do-it-yourselfers” begins September 3rd and continues thru September 9th. With inflation at historic highs, the Florida Legislature passed the “Tool Time” tax holiday this past session and it was signed into law by Governor DeSantis. During thisperiod, sales tax will not be collected on select tools, equipment, and eligible home improvement items. 

Before shopping, you can find a list of eligible items here.

Agency Update

 
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

 

Keeping Florida’s environment healthy and safe to provide pristine habitats and abundant recreational opportunities requires teamwork.  Executive Director, Eric Sutton, leads the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission team which employs nearly 3,000 individuals throughout Florida. 

In 1998, an amendment to the Florida Constitution approved the establishment of the Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) that is headquartered in Tallahassee. As a result, the former offices of the Marine Fisheries Commission, Division of Marine Resources, Florida Marine Patrol, the Division of Law Enforcement of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the former Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission were consolidated.

The Florida Constitution authorizes the commission to enact rules and regulations regarding the state’s fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people. The Governor of Florida appoints seven commissioners, each have a five-year term and must be confirmed by the Florida Senate. The Commission meets five times each year to exercise their constitutional duty of:

 

  • “Regulatory and executive powers of the state with respect to wild animal life and freshwater aquatic life and shall also exercise regulatory and executive powers of the state with respect to marine life, except that all license fees and penalties for violating regulations shall be as provided by law.”

 

FWC commissioners serve as trustees and make policy decisions to manage the resources for future generations. FWC staff are subject matter experts, contributing hands-on research, management, and law enforcement efforts. They work closely with a diverse group of public and private partners and consider the public part of their team.

 

Maintaining fish and wildlife resources sustains a healthy way of life and a robust economy. FWC helps to preserve the natural areas that not only offer residents and visitors outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities, but also provide tens of thousands of jobs.

 

The boating industry is one example, employing more than 92,000 people and generating revenues of $23.3 billion. Hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing and conservation projects also add great value to the state of Florida and contribute to more than 150,000 jobs. Outdoor enthusiasts are vital to their mission.

 

The efforts at the FWC rely upon the communications, funding, and other support of Florida’s residents and visitors. Some of their programs include:  

 

 

To learn more about the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s mission and responsibilities, click here.

 

Volunteers are appreciated and welcome! To learn more about how you and your family can support FWC’s efforts, click here.

Constituent of the Week

Dr. Leesa Souto

The Constituent of the Week is Dr. Leesa Souto, Executive Director of the Marine Resources Council and adjunct faculty member at Florida Institute of Technology . She grew up in South Florida and after completing her Bachelors’ degree in Biology at Florida State University she moved to Brevard County. She continued her studies at the University of Central Florida where she received her Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management in addition to her Doctorate in Conservation Biology.

 

Her professional career spans over 30 years working to improve Florida’s water quality with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Brevard County Natural Resources Management, the Midwest Research Institute, and the University of Central Florida.  

 

The mission of the Marine Resources Council is to improve water quality and to protect and restore the fish and wildlife resources of the Indian River Lagoon, coastal waters, inshore reef and the watershed by advocating and using sound science, education, and the involvement of the public at large.

To learn more about the Marine Resources Council, click here.

District 17 is fortunate to have Dr. Souto’s ongoing efforts to preserve the IRL as a sustainable, clean waterway, and stable environmental foundation for generations to come.  

District Highlights

 
  Half Way Through Sea Turtle Season, FWC Reminds us to Remain Vigilant 

 

Sea turtle season in Florida occurs each year from March until the end of October. There are thousands of sea turtle nests along the 72 mile coastline in Brevard County and 22.4 mile coastline in Indian River County. Our area serves as the largest nesting ground for Loggerhead sea turtles in the world. Since the start of the 2022 sea turtle nesting season through this past week, Indian River County beaches have seen 101 Leatherback nests and 7,393 Loggerhead nests, both record numbers for the county.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has released tips in order to help turtle hatchlings make it to the ocean safely.

 

  • Do not disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings, or nests. They are a protected species.
  • Do not dig holes in the sand, baby sea turtles can easily get stuck in them.
  • Keep the beach dark. Avoid bright lights at night in order to avoid disorienting the turtles.
  • Tear down sandcastles that can trap baby hatchlings.
  • If you see an injured turtle, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s hotline at 888-404-3922.

For more information on the FWC’s protection of sea turtles, click here.

Marine Resources Council will be conducting a presentation on “Brevard County Sea Turtles, Helping them Survive” on September 6th at 12:00 p.m. This is a free event but you must register to reserve your space at the Lagoon House or to receive the Zoom link. For more information and to register for this event, contact Caitlin@mrcirl.org.

 

 Removal and Reporting of Derelict Vessels

 

Abandoned vessels of any size become a disposal problem whether on land, at dock, already sunk, or sinking. The ownership must be determined and this task can be time consuming.  In partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Brevard County and Indian River County continue to work toward the removal of derelict vessels negatively impacting our local waterways and the marine environment. 

 

At the July FWC commission meeting, a Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP) was approved unanimously by Commissioners. The goal of VTIP is to provide owners of at-risk vessels, an avenue by which they can voluntarily turn in their vessel for removal and destruction without further penalty.

For more information on the FWC’s derelict vessel efforts, click here and to learn more about the VTIP, click here.

 

There are currently eight derelict vessels under an FWC direct removal contract in Brevard County:

  • Two have already been removed; 
  • Three more are in the process of refloating and removal;
  • The remaining three will be scheduled for refloating and removal in the coming weeks. 

To report a derelict vessel and learn more about Brevard County’s removal process, click here.

Indian River County’s Coastal Engineering team had six derelict vessels removed in April and May of this year with more pending.

To report a derelict vessel in Indian River County, contact FWC at 888-404-3922. 

To learn more about IRC’s Coastal Engineering Division, please visit www.ircgov.com/publicworks/coastal/.

City of Fellsmere Police Chief Keith Touchberry Named President of Florida Police Chiefs Association

Congratulations to Chief Keith Touchberry for being named President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) for the 2022 – 2023 term.  

“I am honored to lead the Florida Police Chiefs Association for the next year as we meet the challenges facing our chosen profession and the communities we serve,” said newly designated FPCA president Fellsmere Police Department Chief Keith Touchberry. “My priorities for the coming year include continuing to promote officer wellness, addressing recruitment and retention, and combatting false media narratives about law enforcement.”

Chief Touchberry has served Indian River County in law enforcement since 1989. He ended his short-lived retirement from the Vero Beach Police Department in 2013 to become the Chief of Police for the City of Fellsmere. To learn more about Chief Touchberry’s career, click here.

Also, taking leadership positions on the FPCA Board: District #6 Chief David Currey, Vero Beach PD and District #7 Chief John Lau, Titusville PD. 

 

Upcoming Events

 
Boeing to Host a Hiring Event

Same-day contingent job offers are possible

Boeing will be hosting a hiring event on Wednesday, August 31st from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Melbourne Viera Conference Center, located at 8298 North Wickham Road.

Positions available:  

  • Engineering, including Structural, Design, Manufacturing, and Power.
  • Operations Technicians to support various programs, including the International Space Station, Starliner and Space Launch System.

Boeing will consider skills that are transferable from other industries. Some positions require an active U.S. secret security clearance.

 

The event is open to all interested candidates. Attendees are encouraged to apply ahead of the event to be eligible for an on-the-spot interview and possible same-day contingent job offer.

 

To preview available career options and apply in advance, click here

 
The 37th Annual NKF Rich Salick Pro Am Surf Festival Kicks off September 2nd

 

The 37th Annual NKF Rich Salick Surf Fest is back as it takes place this Labor Day Weekend, September 2nd thru September 5th at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier. Athletes from across the state and as far away as Costa Rica will convene at this historic surf spot to compete. Surfers and beach-goers alike will enjoy the weekend festivities while raising funds to fight kidney disease.

 

Both professional and amateur surfers will hit the waves in the preliminary heats beginning on Saturday, September 3rd. All pro and amateur surfing finals conclude on Labor Day, September 5th. The team event will also take place on September 5th and is a classic, throwback tradition that replicates the original format of the event that began in the ‘70s.

 

The iconic Taste of Brevard and Silent Auction will take place on Sunday, September 4th. All proceeds benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Florida to help increase awareness and prevention of kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation.

Tickets to the Taste of Brevard will be available online at NKFsurf.org and at the door.

For more information on the NKF Pro-Am Surfing Festival call 407-894-7325 or visit online at www.nkfsurf.com.

 
Vero Beach Farmers Market in Full Swing as Summer Winds Down

 

Fresh healthy foods, locally grown produce, horticultural products, baked breads and pastries, botanicals, and a variety of unique goods are available, and affordable, at the popular market which includes live music entertainment. 

 

From 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 3rd, at the corner of Ocean Drive and Dahlia Lane, across from Humiston Park, the Vero Beach Farmers Market is the community family-friendly spot for locals, visitors, and pets on leashes. 

 

Support your local farmers, vendors, and family-owned businesses with fresh from the farm-to-table food items at the Vero Beach Farmers Market. 

 

For more information, email info@verobeachfarmersmarket.com.  

 
Brevard County to Host 9/11 21st Anniversary Memorial Tribute

 

On Sunday, September 11th at 4:00 p.m., Brevard County will host a ‘uniform ceremony’ to support and remember the fire, police, EMS, civilians, and military members who lost their lives on 9/11. Brevard County also extends the tribute in remembrance to all who subsequently endured medical challenges due to the 9/11 attack on our nation.

The event will be held at the Veteran’s Memorial Park, located at 400 South Sykes Creek Parkway in Merritt Island, and early arrival is suggested due to expected significant county-wide participation. 

For more information on this event and future events hosted by the Veteran’s Memorial Center, visit the website 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

Staff:

Kelli Lane

Yvette Campbell

Joshua McWilliams