State Senator Debbie Mayfield Mayfield Minute 02/05/2023

Good Morning!

After four committee weeks in Tallahassee, it has been nice to be home in the district for a brief time before returning to the State Capitol for the remaining three weeks of committee starting February 6th from February 24th. 

While in the district, I had the opportunity to meet with many constituents and attend the Economic Development Commission (EDC) of Florida’s Space Coast’s annual meeting. As part of their “Launching a Legacy” event, the EDC recognized Dr. Duane DeFreese with the “Volunteer of the Year” award.

During the presentation, Todd Pokrywa, President of Viera Company and EDC Secretary stated, “Duane is a true advocate and diligent leader in our community, he provides his time to not just the EDC but countless organizations throughout the Space Coast.”

Also, Mr. William T. McInnish received the Thomas E. Gamble Excellence in Education Award for Economic Development. Linda Stout, Market President for East Central Florida Truist Banks and EDC Treasurer stated, “Mr. McInnish is known for his steadfast passion and dedication to his students. His vision enabled Eau Gallie High School to become the first in the nation to award high school students with their National Aerospace/Aircraft Assembly certification, allowing them to work as entry level aircraft technicians – a key asset in building our local talent pipeline.”

Lynda Weatherman, EDC President and CEO, and her team do an outstanding job in attracting new businesses and helping existing businesses to grow in Brevard County.


To learn more about Launching a Legacy, click here.

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

Senate President Passidomo and Speaker Renner Call a Special Session for Committee Week Five

The Governor’s Office, Florida Senate, and Florida House of Representatives have identified several issues that warrant attention in advance of the 2023 Regular Session

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and Speaker Paul Renner have convened the Legislature for Special Session B beginning on Monday, February 6th.

Special Session Bills to be Considered:

1.    Emergency Management – Leader Albritton will file legislation to provide additional resources to support ongoing relief and recovery for communities impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. The bill will include additional funding for the Governor’s Emergency Response and Preparedness Fund and funding for a Local Government Bridge Loan Program within the Department of Economic Opportunity.

2.    Statewide Prosecutor – Last year we created the Office of Elections Crimes and Security to establish a framework for law enforcement to investigate violations of elections laws. The State Constitution affords the Statewide Prosecutor concurrent jurisdiction with the state attorneys to prosecute certain violations of criminal laws that impact multiple jurisdictions. State law generally provides the office with the ability to prosecute election crimes.

3.    Illegal Immigration – Executive Order 23-03 outlines the current efforts the Executive Branch is undertaking to respond to the influx of migrants landing in the Florida Keys. To help mitigate the ongoing impacts of unauthorized aliens coming to Florida, Senator Ingoglia will sponsor legislation to create the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program within the Division of Emergency Management to facilitate the voluntary transport of unauthorized migrants who have been processed by the federal government and released into the U.S.

4.    Intercollegiate Athletics – In 2020, under the leadership of Senator Hutson and Senator Mayfield, Florida was proactive in creating legislation which governs how college athletes can be compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses. However, the recent enactment of NCAA regulations regarding athlete compensation has put many states with such laws at a disadvantage, causing a need for Florida to revisit our current law.

Local Bills to be Considered: As you may be aware, local bills originate in the House, do not need a Senate sponsor, and are typically adopted in the Senate via a consent calendar. However, to provide time for discussion on legislation relating to special districts, the Senate President will utilize the discretion permitted under Rules to refer these local bills to the Committee on Rules.

5.    Reedy Creek Improvement District – The Senate will receive from the House a local bill to revise the governance and powers of Reedy Creek Improvement District, while protecting local taxpayers from the District’s debts.

6.    Sunshine Water Control District – The Senate will receive from the House a local bill reauthorizing the Sunshine Water Control District.

7.    Eastpoint Water and Sewer District – The Senate will receive from the House a local bill making revisions and reauthorizing the Eastpoint Water and Sewer District.

As a reminder, you can follow along with the special session meetings by logging on to The schedule of programming is on the right side of the screen. You can also contact my staff anytime at 850-487-5019 in Tallahassee or at 321-409-2025 in the District for assistance.

Governor DeSantis’ Announces Framework for Freedom Budget

Last week, Governor DeSantis released his Framework for Freedom budget proposal for 2023-2024. The $114.8 billion budget includes total reserves exceeding $15 billion.  

“Florida’s focus on freedom has led us to outpace the nation on all fronts,” said Governor DeSantis. “Through the Framework for Freedom Budget, we are establishing freedom first policies to benefit Florida workers and families and to provide a framework for future prosperity. Florida will fight against federal headwinds by putting forth sound fiscal policies that keep more money in the pockets of Floridians. Our budget proposal not only builds on the successes of the past four years, but ensures that Florida will continue to thrive.”

Some highlights of Governor DeSantis’ Framework for Freedom budget include:

  • Additional permanent tax holidays for infant and toddler necessities, and expanded temporary tax holidays on certain household items, disaster preparation items, energy star appliances, and much more
  • Pay raises for state employees, teachers, instructional personnel, correctional officers, police officers, and others in law enforcement and public safety positions
  • Over $624 million to support workforce education programs to help Florida meet its goal of becoming first in the nation for workforce education by 2030
  • $614 million for Everglades restoration projects
  • $370 million for targeted water quality improvements, nutrient reduction, and to implement the initial recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force
  • $402.7 million for affordable housing
  • Record funding for cancer research and more than $531 million for behavioral health services

To learn more about the Framework for Freedom Budget, click here.

Governor DeSantis Elevates Civil Discourse and Intellectual Freedom in Higher Education

Legislative proposal takes a stand against academic discrimination and indoctrination 

Governor DeSantis announced legislation for the 2023 Session to further elevate civil discourse and intellectual freedom in higher education, further pushing back against the tactics of liberal elites who suppress free thought in the name of identity politics and indoctrination.

Among its many provisions, the legislation will ensure Florida’s public universities and colleges are grounded in the history and philosophy of Western Civilization; prohibit DEI, CRT, and other discriminatory programs and barriers to learning; and course correct universities’ missions to align education for citizenship of the constitutional republic and Florida’s existing and emerging workforce needs.

“In Florida, we will build off of our higher education reforms by aligning core curriculum to the values of liberty and the Western tradition, eliminating politicized bureaucracies like DEI, increasing the amount of research dollars for programs that will feed key industries with talented Florida students, and empowering presidents and boards of trustees to recruit and hire new faculty, including by dedicating record resources for faculty salaries,” said Governor DeSantis.   

For more information, click here.

Agency Highlight

Enterprise Florida, Inc.

Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) is a unique state agency structured as a public-private partnership comprised of business and government leaders. Governor DeSantis serves as the Chairman of EFI and day-to-day operations are led by Laura DiBella, who serves as Secretary of Commerce, President, and CEO of EFI.

Ms. DiBella formerly served as the Deputy Secretary of EFI and has helped to secure the relocations of several companies to Florida, as well as organizing the Southeastern United States-Japan conference. She previously served as the Executive Director of the Florida Harbor Pilots Association, Port Director of the Fernandina Ocean Highway and Port Authority, and the Executive Director of the Nassau County Economic Development Board.

Ms. DiBella and the leadership team are tasked with retaining and recruiting high impact industries to all of Florida’s 67 counties. The primary goal of EFI is to promote Florida as the premier destination for business and industry, and to expand the to state’s economy through private-sector job creation.

Upon creating EFI in 1996, Florida became the first state in the nation to place principal responsibility for economic development, international trade, research, and marketing in the hands of a business-government partnership. Motivating that historic step was the belief that with hands-on participation by Florida businesses, the State could develop

into a sophisticated economy driven by diverse industries and international business. States across the nation have since adopted the EFI model.

As the state’s primary entity for trade and export development, EFI supports more than 60,000 Florida export and import businesses. The organization also assists small and minority businesses through its capital programs, supports Florida’s defense industry through the Florida Defense Alliance and the Florida Defense Support Task Force, and champions sport industry growth through the Florida Sports Foundation.

To learn more about the responsibilities and leadership of Enterprise Florida, Inc., click here

Constituent of the Week

Todd Pokrywa

Our Constituent of the Week is Todd Pokrywa, President of the Viera Company. 

Mr. Pokrywa joined the company on October 1, 2014 as the Senior Vice President of Land Use Planning and Development. Viera Company manages commercial and residential development of the company’s non‐ agricultural property and is the master developer of the community of Viera.  

The company’s integrated real estate operations include Viera Builders, Viera Commercial Properties, the Addison Village Club, and the Duran Golf Club in Viera. Mr. Pokrywa is responsible for overseeing the planning, development, marketing, and sale of land owned and managed by the Viera Company. Prior to joining the company, he served as vice president of strategic affairs for Schroeder‐ Manatee Ranch, Inc., a land management and agribusiness company and developer of Lakewood Ranch, a master‐planned community in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Previously, Mr. Pokrywa was responsible for planning and construction activities with Sunterra Corporation, one of the world’s largest vacation ownership companies (now Diamond Resorts International), and was a senior planning manager for the professional consulting firm Ivey, Harris & Walls (now Miller Legg).

Mr. Pokrywa is actively involved in the community and the real estate development industry at the local, state, and national levels. For example he has served as:

  • Urban Land Institute (ULI) member, ULI Community & Housing Development Florida Product Council member
  • American Planning Association member · Brevard County Civilian Military Council member
  • EDC of Florida’s Space Coast board member and Executive Committee member · Melbourne Regional Chamber of East Central Florida board member, Past Chair, and Executive Committee member
  • Business Voice Political Action Committee board member
  • Viera Stewardship District Chairman
  • Brevard County Developers’ Roundtable member
  • Association of Florida Community Developers (AFCD) past chairman
  • Junior Achievement of the Space Coast board member
  • American Red Cross of Florida’s Space Coast board member
  • American Cancer Society ‐ Real Men Wear Pink committee member

Mr. Pokrywa graduated with honors from the University of Waterloo, Canada, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning. His Senior Honours Essay was “New Towns as an Alternative to Urban Sprawl Development: Viera, FL Case Study.”

He earned a master’s degree in Administration with a specialization in Organizational Leadership from the University of South Dakota.

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Mr. Pokrywa relocated to Florida in 1995. He is an avid ice hockey enthusiast and he and his wife Cyndi reside in Brevard County.  

District 19 recognizes Mr. Pokrywa for his success and contributions to ensuring the Viera community’s growth is well-planned to benefit families, businesses, and the environment.

District Highlights

Viera High School Girls Soccer and Boys Soccer Teams are District Champs

The Viera High School girls’ soccer team won the 7-6A district championship title after defeating Melbourne High School, 2-1. Melbourne ends the regular season with a record of 8-5-2, while Viera ends the regular season with a record of 9-4-3.

Also, the Viera High School boys’ soccer team defeated Heritage High School on a penalty kick to win a hard fought game, 1-0. The Heritage Panthers end their regular season with a record of 12-4-1 while the Viera Hawks finish with 16 wins and one tie.

Congratulations to all of the athletes, coaches, and the entire Viera Hawks campus community for well-earned championships.

The next stop for both Viera soccer teams will be the regional tournament. For schedule updates, please visit the Viera High School Athletics website.

Brevard County Receives Nearly $20 Million for the IRL

More than 30 storm water related projects will receive federal dollars to mitigate the flow of dangerous nutrients into the Indian River Lagoon. 

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has been distributing grant money to municipal governments for projects that curb the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous into intracoastal waterways. The $19.5 million will be disbursed across the county for 33 projects tackling nutrient mitigation and lagoon protection, with several Brevard County cities and the county government receiving millions for filtration projects.

Mitigating nutrients is key to blocking algae blooms which can deprive the water’s oxygen supply and ultimately become fatal for fish, manatees, and dolphins.

“Storm water projects are some of the most cost-effective ways to reduce pollutants int he lagoon,” said Virginia Barker, director of natural resources for Brevard County. “Compared to septic-to-sewer or dredging or other projects, the benefits outweigh the costs by a significant margin.”

Satellite Beach and Indian Harbour Beach received over $2.8 million in grants for exfiltration pipes and storm water basins. Melbourne, Titusville, and Cocoa received $1.2 million, $1.6 million, and $888,000 respectively to improve the IRL. 

“Decades of human impacts have resulted in impaired water quality in the Indian River Lagoon, specifically from nutrients,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton in a release announcing the funding.

Brevard County received over $4.6 million in funding alone for projects such as gabion-based denitrification systems, meaning wirework walls filled with concrete, rock and other materials will create natural filters for storm water headed toward the lagoon.

To review the news release in full, click here.

Groundbreaking of New Viera Middle School

Last week, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new Viera Middle School which is adjacent, and just to the north of Viera High School on Stadium Parkway. The project is a public and private sector partnership.

As a master-planned community, Viera Company anticipated the need for a conveniently located middle school for the area’s growing population. The new Viera Middle School is mostly funded through educational impact fees paid when new homes are built.

The Viera Middle School, projected to open in the Fall of 2024, provides an opportunity for families with young students to remain close to home. The new campus will include a main building, secondary classroom building, and a gymnasium.

To follow the development progress, click here.

Indian River and Brevard Counties Receive First Awards from Governor DeSantis’ Broadband Opportunity Program

Last week, Governor DeSantis announced the first awards released through the Broadband Opportunity Grant Program which is designed to expand access to broadband internet for Florida’s underserved communities. More than $144 million was awarded for 58 projects in 41 Florida counties for broadband internet expansion that will impact nearly 160,000 unserved residential, educational, business, and community locations.

Governor DeSantis said, “Broadband internet access creates jobs and enhances educational opportunities for Floridians. I look forward to continued investments through this program to ensure Florida families have access to important resources no matter where they live.”

The cities of Palm Bay, West Melbourne, Titusville, Mims and Unincorporated Brevard County will receive $573,788 to provide “Fiber to the Home” (FTTH) services to 443 unserved and underserved locations within Brevard County, with minimum download speeds of 300 MBPS and upload speeds of 10 MBPS.

Unincorporated Indian River County will receive $532,147 for fiber optic cable internet service to 674 unserved households in the unincorporated areas of Indian River County with download and upload speeds of up to 1 GBPS.

For additional information about your specific area of service, please contact the Office of Broadband here.

Upcoming Events

The 51st Greek Festival Begins February 24th

The 51st Anniversary of the St. Katherine Greek Festival–the oldest continuous food and cultural festival in Brevard County–takes place February 24th thru February 26th. The event has been a staple of Mediterranean culture and attended by hundreds of residents and visitors for more than five decades. 

The three-day event is being held at the St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Melbourne located at 5965 North Wickham Road. The event is open from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday, February 24th, 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 25th, and 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 26th.

Food, drinks, shopping, and entertainment for all ages will be available during the GreekFEST. For more information, please click here

Brightline Announces High Speed Train Testing in Indian River County and Vero Beach Rail Crossing Closure

Brightline will be testing trains up to 79 mph in Indian River County the week of February 6th. The work, known as a signal and track cutover, will integrate a new second railroad track into the existing corridor and will span railroad crossings through Winter Beach, Gifford, and Vero Beach.

Flaggers will be present at crossings beginning at through Friday, February 10th at 7:00 p.m. This rail work may bring additional wait times at railroad crossings.

Residents should be alert, follow the law around active railroad tracks and railroad crossings and be aware that once the second track is commissioned, rail traffic could run on BOTH tracks in either direction.

Safety reminders for pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists include:

  • Be vigilant around railroad tracks and crossings
  • Stay off the tracks and don’t stop on the tracks
  • Never go around crossing gates
  • Don’t try to beat a train
  • Only cross the tracks at a designated crossing
  • Look, Listen, Live

Brightline will also close the crossing at Aviation Boulevard and U.S. 1 in Vero Beach through February 17th at 7:00 p.m.  

  • Eastbound traffic is being detoured south on 43rd Avenue to 20th Street, east to 11th Avenue, north to 21st Street, west to U.S. 1, then north to Aviation Boulevard
  • Westbound traffic will detour south on U.S. 1 to 20th Street, west to 43rd Avenue, then north to Aviation Boulevard

According to Brightline, the West Palm Beach to Orlando extension will be complete by the end of 2023.

For updates on railroad construction and traffic disruptions, 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


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