State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 10/09/2022

Good Morning!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In 1980, Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became the Susan G. Komen® organization and the beginning of a global movement. 

What was started with $200 and a shoebox full of potential donor names has now grown into the world’s largest nonprofit source of funding for the fight against breast cancer. To date, the Susan G. Komen organization has invested more than $3.3 billion in groundbreaking research, community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 60 countries. Their efforts helped reduce deaths from breast cancer by 40% from 1989 to 2016 and the organization affirms they will not stop until their promise fulfilled.

The month-long recognition serves as an opportunity to celebrate breast cancer survivors, learn from their stories of challenges and triumph, and encourage early detection.  

By the end of 2022, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer, 51,400 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer (specifically ductal carcinoma in situ), and 43,250 breast cancer deaths in the United States.

Please take the time to learn about the symptoms of breast cancer by clicking here. If you are personally suffering from the disease or providing caregiver support, you’ll find many supportive programs and resources here. Early detection and annual mammograms remain the best protection. 

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

Latest Hurricane Ian Recovery Updates from Governor DeSantis

Category 4 Hurricane Ian made landfall on Florida’s Southwest Coast 11 days ago forever changing lives, destroying property, eroding the natural coastline, and paralyzing communication and utility infrastructure.

Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, every state agency and scores of first responders, private organizations and businesses (small, mid-size, and large), and everyday individuals mobilized in an unprecedented way to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts.  

A few highlights of the resiliency in our great state:

  • Over 2,500 lifesaving rescues have occurred, and over 1,000 team members continue search and rescue missions 24/7
  • More than 42,000 linemen have restored power to nearly 2.6 million Floridians, representing restoration for more than 97% of all customers who lost service due to Hurricane Ian
  • First Lady Casey DeSantis launched the Florida Disaster Fund resulting in over $40 million raised 
  • Over 1.3 million hot meals have been served for displaced residents and the first responders working tirelessly to rescue victims and protect property 
  • More than 1,800 emergency management personnel from 26 states have deployed to Florida for recovery and rebuilding efforts 

For more detailed information on the rescue, recovery, and rebuilding efforts in Southwest Florida from the Executive Office of the Governor, click here.

If you are able to donate needed items or financial assistance, your contributions are greatly appreciated and can be coordinated through the Florida Disaster Fund

Flags at Half-Staff in Honor of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day 

Each year in October, we honor the fallen firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice saving and protecting their communities. The National Fallen Firefighters Monument, located in Emmitsburg, Maryland, pays tribute to all the valiant firefighters in the United States that have been killed in the line of duty. This year’s memorial weekend will honor the 148 firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2021 and those who died in previous years.

In observance of the 41st Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day, Governor DeSantis directed that the flags of the United States and the State of Florida are to be flown at half-staff at all local and state buildings, installations, and grounds for the entire day on Sunday, October 9th.

26 New Florida Laws Became Effective on October 1st

The newly enacted laws cover matters related to motor vehicle and vessel law enforcement, controlled substances, local tax referenda requirements, retail theft, sexually related offenses, and public records exemptions, among many other issues.  

To review a summary of each law, click here. If you have specific questions regarding the impact the new laws may have on you or your business, please contact my office at 321-409-2025 for assistance. 

Three Proposed Amendments will be on ALL Florida Resident Ballots on November 8th

Three proposed amendments to our Florida Constitution will be on the 2022 Florida general election ballot for voters consideration. These amendments are joint resolutions that passed thru the 2021-2022 legislative process. Per constitutional requirements, each of the proposed amendments concern a single subject, and all require a 60% voting majority to pass.

Below you’ll find a summary of the three proposed amendments, and a brief description of what your “YES” or “NO” vote means. 

 

AMENDMENT 1: Limitation on Assessment of Real Property Used for Residential Purposes:

If passed, this amendment would prohibit the consideration of any change or improvement made to real property used for residential purposes to improve the property’s resistance to flood damage in determining the assessed value of such property for ad valorem taxation purposes.

  • A YES vote on this amendment: Authorizes the Florida State Legislature to pass laws prohibiting flood resistance improvements to residential property from being considered when determining that residential property’s assessed value for property taxes.
  • A NO vote on this amendment: Permits flood resistance improvements to residential property to continue to be considered when determining that residential property’s assessed value for property taxes.

AMENDMENT 2: Abolish the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC):

If approved, the amendment would abolish the CRC which was established by the Florida Legislature in 1968. The CRC, comprised of 37 Florida House, Florida Senate, and Gubernatorial appointees, meets every 20 years to submit proposed amendments or revisions to Florida’s Constitution. The Commission hosts a series of public meetings around the state and drafts proposed changes to the Constitution that would then be voted on during the statewide general election.

  • A YES vote on this amendment: Supports abolishing the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC).
  • A NO vote on this amendment: Opposes abolishing the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC).

AMENDMENT 3: Additional Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Specified Critical Public Service Workforce:

This amendment would grant an additional homestead tax exemption for non-school levies of up to $50,000 of the assessed value of homestead property owned by classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correction officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare services personnel, active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and Florida National Guard members.

  • A YES vote on this amendment: Authorizes the Florida Legislature to provide an additional homestead property tax exemption of $50,000 of assessed value on property owned by certain public service workers (listed above).
  • A NO vote on this amendment: Opposes authorizing the Florida Legislature to provide an additional homestead tax exemption on $50,000 of assessed value on property owned by certain public service workers (listed above).

For more details on the amendments, including the pros and cons of each, click here.

Individual cities and counties will have additional items on their ballot beyond the three statewide amendments. Contact the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections or Indian River County Supervisor of Elections for specific details in your area.

Remember the last day to register to vote or change your party affiliation is Tuesday, October 11th.  

Agency Highlight

Florida Department of Transportation

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is an executive agency which directly reports to Governor Ron DeSantis. FDOT is led by Secretary Jared W. Perdue who was appointed by the Governor in April 2022. FDOT has statutory responsibility to coordinate the planning and development of a safe, viable, and balanced transportation system serving all regions of the state, and to assure the compatibility of all components, including multimodal facilities.  

The unique nature of the Sunshine State and its year-round warm climate provides numerous opportunities to move people and goods through multiple transportation modes including highways/streets, air, rail, sea, spaceports, transit, and the ever-expanding deployment of bicycle & pedestrian facilities.

In times of crises, such as Hurricane Ian, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) actively works to clear roadways, create temporary bridges to isolated areas, and restore public and private transportation services to areas impacted by natural disasters.  

The efficiency and effectiveness of FDOT may sometimes go unnoticed. In their latest response to the impassable Pine Island Road Bridge in Southwest Florida caused by Hurricane Ian, FDOT completed emergency structural repairs in less than three days– well ahead of an anticipated one month or more timeline for reopening – allowing the passage of first responders, food providers, and debris removal crews to serve the nearly 9,000 stranded residents on Pine Island.

Additionally, FDOT Cut and Toss Crews cleared over 5,000 miles of Florida roadways to ensure safe travel for motorists and inspected over 2,500 bridges across the state for safe usage after the storm.

In addition to their crisis response responsibilities, FDOT also provides a variety of safety information programs for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and railway passengers, and public notice of construction projects throughout Florida.  

 

Constituent of the Week

Donn Weaver

Our Constituent of the Week is United States Army Veteran Donn Weaver. He is an American Hero who needs very little introduction throughout the entire Space Coast. Mr. Weaver is the Chairman of the Brevard Veterans Council and past president of the Military Officer Association of the Cape Canaveral Chapter. He was recently appointed to a two-year term on the 12-member VA National Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials. 

Mr. Weaver served in the United States Army from 1968 to 1972 as an Infantry Officer. He is a graduate of Florida State University and worked for the State Department for 44 years as a Senior Foreign Service Officer. He served as Director for the Brevard Chapter ‘Missing in America Project’ which is a national organization that locates unclaimed remains of Veterans and spouses at funeral homes to inter them in national cemeteries. In a media interview just a few years ago, it was evident that Mr. Weaver takes the care of deceased service members and Veterans as a sacred duty.

“We owe it to Veterans,” he said. “It’s a final obligation to their service to make sure they’re honorably buried and properly cared for into perpetuity.”

Tragically, Mr. Weaver and his wife of 52 years, Jeanne Weaver, are Gold Star parents. Their son, Lieutenant Todd Weaver, lost his life in service to our nation while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2010. Subsequently, Lieutenant Weaver’s mother, Jeanne, authored the book, “Losing Todd: A Mother’s Journey.” Lieutenant Weaver is interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

Donn Weaver is involved in several local veteran organizations, including the Brevard Veterans Council and the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center.  Mr. Weaver’s compassionate service permeates our community and serves as an inspiration for all. 

If you would like to join in his efforts to support Veterans, please visit the Veterans Memorial Center.

District 17 is honored to have Donn and Jeanne Weaver as members of our community.  We are grateful for his and their son Todd’s service and ultimate sacrifice for our nation. 

District Highlights

The 65th Annual Honor Flight Took Off on Saturday, October 8th

At 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 8th, 30 American heroes from our area participated in the 65th Annual Honor Flight. Space Coast Honor Flight’s (SCHF) mission is to take World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam Veterans to visit their War Memorials in Washington D.C. This is an unique opportunity to show our gratitude to these heroes who made it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms we have today.  

 

The two youngest participants, Petty Officer Stephen Matton and Chief Warrant Officer Laurance Wakefield, were born in 1949 and the most senior Veteran on the flight Lieutenant and Master Sergeant Chuck Richards, was born in 1929. United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Corporal, Lois Pope-Cuti of Rockledge was the only female Veteran on the flight. She was accompanied by her husband Randolph Cuti, Sr., United States Air Force Technical Sergeant.

United States Navy, Rear Admiral Jim Hart is the President of Space Coast Honor Flight and under his leadership, the program has grown exponentially with nearly 100 applicants pending. Rear Admiral Hart and his team do an incredible job to include as many Veterans as possible while prioritizing participants based on the following:

 

        1. Any Critically Ill Veteran      

        2. World War II Veterans (Service through 1948)      

        3. Korean War Veterans (Service 1949 to 1954)      

        4. Vietnam Veterans (Service 1955 to 1975)      

        5. Veterans of Recent Conflicts (Service 1976 to present) 

 

If you, a friend, or loved one are interested in participating in the Space Coast Honor Flight, please send an email to [email protected] or call 321-456-7031. 

The organization has accommodations for Veterans of all ages and abilities. A Guardian Escort is assigned to each participant, wheelchairs are provided, and a medical doctor accompanies each flight. 

Brevard Zoo and the Sea Turtle Preservation Society Rescue Hundreds of Baby Sea Turtles from Hurricane Ian’s Aftermath

The Brevard Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center received nearly 250 baby sea turtles from the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Most of the sea turtles are of the green, loggerhead, and hawksbill species and are from the Cape Canaveral area.  

 

According to Brevard Zoo, “Major weather events like hurricanes can waylay baby sea turtles who are in offshore weather disrupted rafts of Sargassum, or are making their first swim into the ocean, heading to the offshore patches of seaweed that provide them with shelter and food.” 

Newly arriving distressed baby sea turtles are evaluated and categorized by hatchling or post-hatchling size. If ill or injured, they are treated by the veterinary team until they are healthy and can be safely released into ocean conditions favorable for their survival.

The Brevard Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center is well equipped to handle and rehabilitate stranded baby turtles. They provided a home to over 500 turtles in 2016 after category 5 Hurricane Matthew paralleled Florida’s Atlantic coastline causing significant damage to their environment.

 

Extreme weather is not the only hazard for infant sea turtles. Illegal harvesting, water pollution, and human and animal predators also inhibit the survival of turtles hatchling to post-hatchling and into adulthood. To learn more about the threats to sea turtles, click here

 

If you find a baby sea turtle on the beach, do NOT place them back in the water. Please immediately call Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922 for rescue instructions. 

 

If you find distressed, sick, dead, or injured sea turtles in Brevard County or Indian River County, please contact the Sea Turtle Preservation Society at 321-676-1701.  

Upcoming Events

New Opportunity to Meet with Local Candidates at Carib Brewery

With less than 30 days until the November 8th general election, now is the time to take a few minutes to meet with several local candidates at the ‘Candidates & Cocktails’ event (Carib Brewery, 200 Imperial Boulevard, Cape Canaveral) on Tuesday, October 11th at 6:00 p.m. 

The pre-election event is an unique opportunity to meet, listen, learn, and ask questions of candidates seeking your vote. If you are interested in attending, please register here as space is still available, but the event is nearing capacity.  

“Wild About Wellness” Event Scheduled at Environmental Learning Center in Vero Beach

The School District of Indian River County (SDIRC) and the Environmental Learning Center (ELC) are holding a free “Wild About Wellness” community event on October 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The event will be held on the Thomas R. Schidel Education and Event Pavilion lawn on the ELC Campus located at 255 Live Oak Drive in Vero Beach. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet physical and mental health wellness providers, attend demonstrations, take part in a scavenger hunt, and explore the Discovery Station, Nature Nook, Art Galleries, and Walking Trails. The ELC speakers and SDIRC staff will also demonstrate the benefits of nature immersion on one’s overall well being. Organizers ensure participants will leave the event with new connections to behavioral health, physical and mental wellness providers, and community services for those in need. 

For more information on “Wild About Wellness” and other events at Environmental Learning Center, visit the website DiscoverELC.org.

Local Organizations to Host 2022 Mobility Fair in Viera

A state-wide celebration of making smart, efficient, and safe multimodal transportation choices will be held during Mobility Week 2022. The Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization, Space Coast Area Transit, and the Central Viera Community Association is hosting the Mobility Fair on Friday, October 28th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Addison Village Club, located at 8150 Stadium Parkway, in Viera. 

Senior citizens will enjoy an interactive fair showcasing state and local vendors who will be sharing transportation safety measures and mobility resources. Attendees will enjoy refreshments and giveaways in addition to the opportunity to ride the new Transit Hybrid Bus and learn more about CarFit. Interactive activities have limited spots and are available on a first come, first serve basis.

 

The event is free to the public and advanced registration is highly encouraged, please click here

 

If any local vendors would like to participate, please email [email protected].

The Florida Department of Transportation recognizes Mobility Week 2022 from October 21st thru October 28th. For more information on the seventh annual statewide initiative, click 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