State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 11/13/2022

Good Morning!

Only 48 Days Left in 2022

While the year is winding down, the Florida Legislature is gearing up for the 2023 Legislative Session beginning March 7, 2023. The Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives will each convene for an Organization Session on November 22nd at the State Capitol in pursuant to Article III, Section 3 of Florida’s Constitution which states, “On the fourteenth day following each general election the legislature shall convene for the exclusive purpose of organization and selection of officers.”

In a joint statement by President-designate Kathleen Passidomo of the Florida Senate and Speaker-designate Paul Renner of the Florida House of Representatives also announced the dates for the Interim Committee Weeks.

The dates for the Interim Committee Meetings are as follows:

  • December 12th thru December 16th
  • January 3rd thru January 6th
  • January 17th thru January 20th
  • January 23rd thru January 27th
  • February 6th thru February 10th
  • February 13th thru February 17th
  • February 20th thru February 24th 

Senate President-designate Kathleen Passidomo has served in the Florida Senate since 2016, and as the Senate Majority Leader from 2018-2020. Prior to her Senate election she served in the Florida House of Representatives. Senate President-designate Passidomo will replace current Senate President Wilton Simpson who’s term ended November 8, 2022 and was recently elected as Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The House Speaker-designate Paul Renner has served in the Florida House of Representatives since 2015. Speaker-designate Renner is replacing current Speaker Chris Sprowls who served in the Florida House since 2014 whose term ended November 8, 2022.

I look forward to working with Florida’s newly elected and returning members of the legislature. I consider it a great honor to represent District 19. 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 Signed Proclamation Declaring Florida’s First Annual Victims of Communism Day

Florida is home to millions of individuals who came here seeking freedom from countries controlled by Communist governments, including Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. To honor the memories and sacrifices of those who suffered under these despotic regimes the Legislature passed and Governor DeSantis signed HB 395 to establish November 7th, a day during which students in Florida’s schools will learn about the atrocities committed by Communist regimes and the more than 100 million people who were persecuted and lost their lives in Communist countries. To read the full proclamation, click here.

 “At a time when Marxism, socialism, and communism are actively promoted by prominent politicians and pop-culture figures in our own country, it is more important than ever to teach Florida’s schoolchildren about the horrific history of Communist countries and to provide them with opportunities to hear from individuals who suffered under the rule of Communist dictators,” said Governor DeSantis.

“As the daughter of Cuban exiles, I know firsthand the devastating impact communism has had on the people of Cuba,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “In Florida, we will not allow that dangerous ideology of communism to permeate into our society, and we will continue to educate our children about the atrocities that have happened at the hands of communist dictators. I am proud that our administration has and will always stand for freedom and oppose those who want to take it away from us.”

Victims of Communism Day is an opportunity for students of all ages and Floridians of all backgrounds to learn about the dangers posed by socialism around the world and here at home, as well to reflect upon the blessings of liberty afforded to ourselves and our posterity as a result of the American traditions of limited government and individual freedom.

Florida Ranks #1 in the Nation for Attracting and Developing Skilled Workforce 

Florida’s focus on training workers with the technical skills and credentials is paying off as the Sunshine State was ranked number one in the U.S. for attracting and developing a skilled workforce. Governor DeSantis announced this ranking as a part of Lightcast’s 2022 Talent Attraction Scorecard, which confirms that our state’s strong policies, open economy, and focus on education have solidified Florida as the nation’s best state to learn, work and live.

“By keeping Florida free and open, we have created a positive economic environment and invested in our state’s workforce and communities,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “As a result, Florida is leading the nation in net migration and talent attraction. As other states continue to struggle at the hands of poor leadership, people and businesses are flocking to Florida.”

The scorecard measures seven growth areas of the most recent five-year period including net migration of counties adding new residents, education attainment, job creation, skilled job creation, competitive effect, and average annual job openings.

A key highlight of the 2022 Talent Attraction Scorecard is Florida’s lead among all states in the nation in net migration, adding more than 388,000 residents between 2016-20. That is nearly double than the next state, Texas.

Governor DeSantis Proclaims November as Florida Family Caregiver Month

Celebrated every November, National Family Caregiver Appreciation Month is a time to recognize and honor family caregivers by raising awareness, to help educate families and communities of this important role, and to increase support for those tasked with providing care to those in need. Florida is home to nearly 3 million family caregivers who provide a combined 2.4 billion hours of care annually. 

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) extends its sincerest gratitude to the family members and countless volunteers for their tireless services. 

Governor DeSantis has also recognized the importance of Florida Family Caregiver Month with this official proclamation

Additional DOEA provides additional year-round caregiver support through its administration of the National Family Caregiver Support Program, the Respite for Elders Living in Everyday Families (RELIEF) programs and the Home Care for Elderly Program. 

Please click here for assistance with these programs. 

Agency Highlight

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Current Senate President Wilton Simpson was recently elected Commissioner of FDACS

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) supports and promotes Florida agriculture, protects the environment, safeguards consumers, and ensures the safety and wholesomeness of food. Florida’s agricultural industry has an annual economic impact of over $8.6 billion annually and employs nearly 70,000 in our state. Canada, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic are Florida’s top three partners for agriculture exports.

FDACS history dates back over 150 years making it one of Florida’s longest serving agencies in existence today. 

1868: The Florida Constitution of 1868 created the Office of Commissioner of Immigration. The Commissioner of Immigration was empowered to attract settlers to Florida.

1871: The Constitution was amended consolidating the Offices of Surveyor General and Commissioner of Immigration as the new Commissioner of Lands and Immigration.

1885: The Constitution was revised renaming the Commissioner of Lands and Immigration as the Commissioner of Agriculture.

1969: The Florida Legislature reorganized the department and established the Division of Consumer Services and the Division of Forestry. The Legislature renamed the department to Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The responsibilities of FDACS include:

  • Protection of Florida’s livestock, and vegetable and fruit crop plants from pests and diseases.
  • Assistance to farmers for best management practices in water conservation and prevention of water pollution.
  • Management of over one million acres of state forests including timber, wildlife habitats, and recreation.
  • Fighting and preventing wildfires to protect people, livestock, and property.
  • Safeguarding consumers from unlawful, deceptive business practices and assisting in resolution of consumer complaints.
  • Ensuring the provision of more than one million healthy meals to Florida students daily.

Current Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson was elected to serve as the next Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services earning 59% of the vote in Florida’s midterm election last week. 

Commissioner-elect Simpson is a fifth generation Floridian and an entrepreneurial owner of a large farming operation that supplies eggs for Florida’s families through supermarkets across the state and nationally. He has served in the Florida Senate since 2012, currently representing District 10 which includes Citrus, Hernando, and part of Pasco County. He was elected Senate President in 2020 for a two-year term. 

During his tenure in the Florida Senate, Commissioner-elect Simpson had great success with legislation benefitting the restoration of the Everglades, establishing fair taxes on farmers to be maintained until 2030, allocation of $880 million for water quality restoration, and $32 million in funding to reduce the amount of phosphorus that flows into the Everglades region.

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, click here

Constituents of the Week

 
Parks Finney and James Verpaele

The exact history of the Homecoming tradition is mostly unknown. Some believe the first event originated as early as 1911 when the University of Missouri held a ‘homecoming’ celebration for returning alumni at the first football game of the season. Others have said the concept of ‘homecoming’ came about to be more inclusive of all students as proms were mostly for graduating seniors. 

It probably doesn’t matter how, when, or where Homecoming began. What’s more important is that it has lasted as a high school tradition for over 100 years.  Sometimes, a single Homecoming story will move an entire community. That is true of two incredible Merritt Island High School (MIHS) students, James Verpaele and Parks Finney.  

During the final home game for MIHS senior varsity football player, James Verpaele, was named homecoming King. Unknown to those hundreds of voters, James already knew what he wanted to do in the event he might win. 

In front of a packed stadium of parents, students, and administrators, James handed his Homecoming King crown and sash to fellow student, Parks Finney.

 “All the senior guys got together, and we just kind of all agreed that Parks should get it — that we’d give it to Parks after we found out who would be King,” James said. 

When Parks was asked what he said to James after receiving the crown and sash, he humbly stated, “I was shocked and I thanked him.”

Parks, age 19, suffers from Perventricular Leukomalacia (PVL), a brain injury he has had since birth. Amy Finney is Parks’ mom and her emotions in that moment were overwhelming, rightfully so.  

Amy said, “You know we see a lot of criticism of teenagers, that they’re only into their phones and that they don’t care about what’s going on, but this shows that they do, and it’s the magic of teenagers, and just the magic of inclusion and acceptance.”

Parks’ condition hasn’t prevented him from being a welcoming and bright-spirited classmate.

“He can strike up a conversation, he’s funny, he’s a nice guy, and he’s the mayor. Mister Mayor is what we call him,” James said. “He’s just like a brother to all of us.”

Parks’ mom, an English teacher at MIHS, says James’ gesture is an example everyone can learn from. “The message that comes from this is people are people, and to always be accepting and kind.” 

Senate District 19 is proud to have these two outstanding young men in our community. James plans to pursue a college degree in aviation or engineering through the ROTC program. upon graduation. Parks’ post high school plans include participating in the Brevard Public Schools BLAST program and working in the community. We wish them great success in all of their future endeavors. 

To learn more about PVL, click here

District Highlights

The City of Melbourne Announces Lawn Watering Restrictions

The City of Melbourne announced its “Time to Fall Back to Once a Week” water restriction initiative which will last until March 12, 2023. Please see rules and helpful tips below. 

Irrigation is limited to only one day per week on scheduled days: 

  • Saturday: Residential addresses that end in an odd number or have no address
  • Sunday: Residential addresses that end in an even number
  • Tuesday: Nonresidential addresses

Water your yard:

  • Before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. 
  • Only when needed
  • For no more than one hour per zone

Improving landscape irrigation practices can save water and improve your landscape’s quality at the same time. 

Watering less in the fall and winter is better for your lawn:

  • Grass and plants need less water during the cooler months.
  • Overwatering can encourage mold and fungus, weaken grass roots and promote weeds and undesirable insects. 

Wasted water harms the Indian River Lagoon:

  • Water is wasted when broken or misdirected sprinkler heads spray water onto sidewalks and pavement.
  • Runoff from oversaturated yards often carries fertilizers, debris and nutrients into natural waterways, like the Indian River Lagoon, which leads to poor water quality.

Reclaimed water is not subject to year-around water restrictions that apply to potable water or groundwater well irrigation systems. However, because all water is valuable, reclaimed water customers are encouraged to use it wisely and follow recommended best practices for irrigation.

For more information about watering restrictions, visit St. Johns River Water Management District’s website.

 
NASA Announces a Two Day Postponement of the Artemis 1 Launch

NASA is postponing the next Artemis 1 launch attempt by at least two days due to Hurricane Nicole’s landfall on Florida’s East coast last week. 

With the November 14th launch opportunity ruled out, the next possible launch date is November 16th with a two-hour window opening at 1:04 a.m. Another launch window, also two hours long, opens at 1:45 a.m. on November 19th. Those dates are contingent on NASA’s assessment of any storm related impacts but as of Thursday, November 10th, at 10:39 a.m., officials stated, “WE ARE GOING!” 

The current launch period runs through November 27th with November 25th tentatively identified as a potential back up launch date if Artemis 1 does not launch by November 19th. If Artemis 1 does not launch in November, the next launch period opens December 9th thru December 22nd.

For up to date Artemis 1 launch information, click here

Upcoming Events

Vero Beach Chamber of Commerce Resumes Sunset Saturdays

This past Saturday, the Vero Beach Chamber of Commerce resumed its “Sunset Saturdays” with locals enjoying an evening of live music, food, and drinks. It was the first of the new season which will continue every second Saturday of each month, December thru April 2023, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The event takes place at the Humiston Park area on Ocean Drive which is blocked off for the live band’s stage and pedestrians strolling through the exhibits. Organizers encourage guests to bring a lawn chair and blanket to settle in for the entertainment, food, and drinks. Guest of all ages are welcome. For more information, contact [email protected] or 772-226-5459.

 
Space Coast Light Festival

Beginning Friday, November 18th at 6:30 p.m. the Space Coast Light Festival kicks off the holiday season with extravagant light and animation displays at Fred Poppe Regional Park (located at 1951 Malabar Road) in Palm Bay.

The 1.3 mile journey through the park is a unique family experience ending with a 200 foot “Light Tunnel” explosion. The light festival is designed as a ‘drive thru’ in private vehicles, but groups are also welcome by pre-booking at spacecoastlightfestival.com. Stroll night walking tours are available from December 9th thru 11th and December 30th thru January 1st.

 
Cirque Mystique Magic and Variety Show Opens November 25th

The Cirque Mystique Magic and Variety Show, with special guest Santa Claus, will present an exciting and mysterious magic and variety show with performers from all around the world at Space Coast Daily Park in Viera.

There will be 14 show opportunities beginning Friday, November 25th thru December 4th:

  • Mondays thru Fridays: 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Sundays: 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Performers include high-wire tight rope acrobats, magicians, hilarious clowns, and various stage acts. The event is open to the public of all ages and tickets can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com or by phone at 855-386-3836.

 
Annual 3-Day Space Coast Snowbird Fest Coming to Palm Bay

Space Coast Harley Davidson located at 1440 Sportsman Lane NE in Palm Bay will serve as host for the Annual Space Coast Snowbird Fest. The 3-day event is open to the public on:

  • Friday, November 18th: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 19th: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 20th: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Admission and parking are free and the event includes activities for all ages such as: Sunday photo ops with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Grinch from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., food trucks, artist and vendor exhibits, live music, and local beverage crafters.

For more information, contact Barbara Snow at 586-242-9931 or [email protected].

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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