State Senator Debbie Mayfield ‘ Mayfield Minute 02/12/2023

Good Morning!

The Florida Legislature completed another productive week in Tallahassee. Late last week, Governor DeSantis called for Special Session B for the legislature to address issues in advance of the Legislative Session beginning March 7th. I’ve highlighted the bills presented in the Special Session below and encourage you to please contact my district office (321-409-2025) or Tallahassee office at (850-487-5019) if you have any questions.

I want to wish everyone celebrating Super Bowl LVII tonight an exciting and safe evening, and also a very Happy Valentines Day to you and your loved ones on February 14th.

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. 

Committee Week Five Highlights

Last week, my staff and I had an opportunity to meet with individuals and representatives of many advocacy organizations from our community and throughout Florida. 

I want to thank the Mental Health Association in Indian River County, Florida Onsite Wastewater Association, FDSA, Florida Association of Community Health Centers, Florida Atlantic University, Drug Free America, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Asia Hotels Association, among other groups who took their time to meet with us in Tallahassee. 

I also met with Austin Helton of the Brevard Health Alliance, Secretary Melanie Griffin of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. DBPR is the agency responsible for licensing and regulating Florida businesses and professionals. Julie Sanders, Vice Mayor for the City of Melbourne, visited the Capitol with representatives of Brevard Adult Education as they continue their mission to help adult complete their education.  

Senate Committees also voted on several committee bills. Some of the highlights include:

Affordable Housing: Senate Bill 102 was introduced by Senator Alexis Calatayud in the Senate Committee on Community Affairs, where it passed unanimously. The bill proposes a new program called the LIVE LOCAL plan, which aims to provide comprehensive affordable housing solutions to the citizens of Florida. With over $700 million appropriated, this bill represents a historic investment into affordable housing in the State of Florida.

The next stop for SB 102 is the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Florida’s Wildlife Corridor: Senate Bill 106 was introduced by Senator Jason Brodeur in the Senate Committee on Transportation, where it passed unanimously. The bill addresses the Florida Shared-Use Nonmotorized (SUN) Trail Network and expands access to Florida’s Wildlife Corridor and heritage small towns by connecting the corridor to Florida’s Greenways and Trails System, SUN Trail Network, and recreational pathways across the state.

The next stop for SB 106 is the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Social Media Safety in K-12 Education: Senate Bill 52 was introduced by Senator Danny Burgess and passed unanimously by the Senate Education Pre-K – 12 Committee. SB 52 requires Florida school districts to prohibit and prevent students from accessing social media platforms through the use of internet access provided by each district. Further, the bill calls for in-school instruction on social media safety, and how best it can be utilized in one’s personal and professional life.

The next stop for SB 52 is the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education.

With two more committee weeks leading up to the legislative session, I look forward to meeting with many more District 19 constituents, business leaders, and advocacy groups.

Special Session 2023B

During Special Session 2023B, the following bills were passed by the Florida Senate and House of Representatives and have moved to the Governor DeSantis to be signed into law.

Providing Relief to Communities Impacted by Recent Hurricanes: Majority Leader Ben Albritton filed Senate Bill 2-B, Emergency Response to provide critical financial relief to communities impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. This bill establishes the Local Government Emergency Bridge Loan Program and appropriates $50 million in nonrecurring funds to support this program under the Department of Economic Opportunity.

Reigning in Reedy Creek Improvement District: Senator Travis Hutson presented House Bill 9-B to restructure and amend the charter of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which will now be known as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District, which covers approximately 25,000 acres, was previously given powers and authorities beyond a local government that benefited the Walt Disney Company. This bill removes the broad powers and authorities of the Reedy Creek district and brings them in line with the laws of Florida.

Advancing Collegiate Athletics in the State of Florida: I was proud to have introduced the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) bill in Collegiate Athletics in 2020. The Florida Legislature quickly acted to ensure that our universities were in a prime position to take advantage of the changes in NCAA policy. Since the establishment of NIL and the enactment of Florida’s policies to govern the process, the NCAA has made significant alterations to their own policies regarding NIL. In order to adapt to the ever-changing nature of NIL in Collegiate Athletics, Senator Travis Hutson introduced House Bill 7-Bduring Special Session 2023B. This bill allows student-athletes and universities to communicate two parties regarding brand deals.

Tackling the Border Crisis: As the State of Florida is currently under a declared state of emergency due to the crisis at our southern border, it is clear that immediate action is necessary. As a result, Senator Ingoglia filed Senate Bill 6-B to address the illegal immigration crisis. 

This legislation replaces a previous program funded in 2022 and creates the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program within the Florida Division of Emergency Management. This legislation allocates funding to provide for the voluntary transport of illegal immigrants within the United States.

Leading the Way on Election Security: In order to ensure that Florida continues to lead the way on election security, Senator Jonathan Martin filed Senate Bill 4-B, during Special Session 2023B. This bill clarifies that the Office of Statewide Prosecution has the authority to investigate and prosecute election fraud in the State of Florida. This will allow for uniform protection of election integrity across Florida’s 67 counties.

Click here to view the Senate Committee on Rules where the NIL and Reedy Creek Improvement District bills were heard and voted upon.

Statewide Update

Governor DeSantis Held Roundtable Discussion on Legacy Media Defamation Practices

Governor DeSantis held a roundtable discussion to address the damaging impacts of defamation from the legacy media. The panel included victims of media defamation, legal experts, and a member of the media who has witnessed the defamatory practices of his colleagues.

The Governor also called upon the legislature to take action during the upcoming Legislative Session to protect Floridians from the life-altering ramifications that media defamation causes for people without the means or platform to defend themselves.

“We’ve seen over the last generation legacy media outlets increasingly divorce themselves from the truth and instead try to elevate preferred narratives and partisan activism over reporting the facts,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “When the media attacks me, I have a platform to fight back. When they attack everyday citizens, these individuals don’t have the adequate recourses to fight back. In Florida, we want to stand up for the little guy against these massive media conglomerates.”

To watch the roundtable video, click here and to read the press release in full, click here.

Attorney General Moody Warns of Romance Scams before Valentine’s Day

In advance of Valentine’s Day, Attorney General Moody defines “Sweetheart Scams” as imposters posing as individuals seeking love on dating sites, social media, or in person in an attempt to gain trust and ultimately swindle their victims. Below are some tips Attorney General Moody recommends to prevent becoming a scam victim.

Be cautious of scammers claiming they need money urgently for:

  • A family emergency or tragedy
  • Assistance in opening a bank account
  • Financial assistance claiming they were a victim of identity theft
  • Travel expenses to finally meet you in person
  • A unique business opportunity

Be vigilant and cautious as imposters are skilled in gaining their victim’s trust and forging emotional connections.

To report a romance scammer, Attorney General Moody advises to take the following steps:

  • Immediately report the scammer’s account on dating and social media sites
  • If you sent money or gift cards, contact the company / bank to stop the transfer
  • File a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office at 1-866-966-7226 or online here.
 Historic $2 Billion in Tax Relief for Florida Families Announced by Governor DeSantis

Governor DeSantis, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, and House Speaker Paul Renner highlighted their intent to pass the largest tax relief proposal in Florida history, saving Florida families a historic $2 billion. The average Florida family could save up to $1,000 a year under the plan.

“Inflation continues to burden Florida families and we must fight back against rising costs by cutting the sales tax on necessary items,” said Governor DeSantis. “We are able to provide this record $2 billion in tax relief because of our smart fiscal policies and strong reserves. It is important that we pass savings on to Florida families so they can keep more of their hard-earned money in their own pockets.”

The tax relief proposal includes a “Freedom Summer” tax holiday which will run from Memorial Day through September 4th and is estimated to save Florida families more than $224 million. Items included are: 

  • Admission to events and performances such as concerts, movies, and sporting events 
  • Admission to state parks and museums
  • Boating and water activity supplies
  • Camping supplies 
  • Fishing supplies 
  • Sports equipment 
  • Residential pool supplies

For a summary of the tax relief plan, click here.

Agency Highlight

Agency for Health Care Administration

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is authorized in Section 20.42, Florida Statutes and is the chief health policy and planning entity for the state.

AHCA is responsible for health facilities licensure, inspection, and regulatory enforcement; investigation of consumer complaints related to health care facilities and managed care plans; the implementation of the Certificate of Need program; the operation of the Florida Center for Health Information and Transparency; the administration of the Medicaid program; the administration of the contracts with the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation; the certification of health maintenance organizations and prepaid health clinics; and other duties prescribed by statute or agreement.

The Secretary of AHCA is appointed by the Governor subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Mr. Jason Weida is currently serving as the Interim Secretary and Chief of Staff for AHCA. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut College of Law, and was first hired by AHCA as the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Medicaid policy and quality.

Before joining the agency, Weida worked as a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Boston for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and as counsel in the DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy in Washington, DC. In his role at DOJ, Weida oversaw drug diversion investigations of doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and hospitals.

Under Interim Secretary Weida’s leadership, AHCA’s current priorities include:

  • Reducing the number of uninsured residents
  • Targeting fraudulent health care providers
  • Reducing unnecessary regulation
  • Reducing administrative costs and pass on the savings to better serve patients

For more information on AHCA’s services, click here

Constituent of the Week

William (Bill) T. McInnish

Our Constituent of the Week is William (Bill) T. McInnish. 

Mr. McInnish has a diverse career that spans over four decades from serving as a member of the United States Military, a Pastor, and as a high school teacher preparing the next generation of aviation, aerospace, and engineering professionals.

His military career began in the U.S. Army and culminated in retirement after 22 years of service as a U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue Crewman. 

Mr. McInnish earned his first college degree in Aerospace Science and Technology from the State University of New York Regents College, followed by a degree from the University of North Florida in Technology Teacher Education in 1996, and a Master of Arts in Educational and Instructional Technology from the University of Alabama in 2004. 

He has taught Career Technology Education for nearly three decades including 17 years in Alabama, and for the past eight years, in the Aerospace and Aviation Technology program at Eau Gallie High School. 

Mr. McInnish led the establishment of the Aviation Fabrication and Assembly program at Eau Gallie High School which became the first in the nation to award high school students with a National Aerospace/Aircraft Assembly certification. The certificate enables students to work as entry level aircraft technicians which is a field in high-demand on the Space Coast and beyond.

Most recently, Mr. McInnish was recognized with the prestigious Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast’s Thomas E. Gamble Excellence in Education. The award is presented to an individual who has improved the field of education, student learning, and contributed to educational programs supporting the talent pipeline for industries on the Space Coast.

Mr. McInnish highly prefers to boast about his students and graduates rather than to discuss his own accomplishments.  He says, “My satisfaction comes from my students getting amazing jobs.”

His graduates have been hired by nearly all major aviation and aerospace companies including SpaceX, Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance, Piper Aircraft, Embraer Aircraft, L3Harris, Collins Aerospace, and Lockheed Martin. 

Mr. McInnish resides in Brevard County with his wife Peggy. They have two adult children and 11 grandchildren. 

Florida Senate District 19 is grateful to Mr. McInnish for his military service and commitment to educating the next generation of young professionals in the aviation, engineering, and aerospace industries. 

District Highlights

Cocoa High School Graduate Chauncey “C.J.” Gardner-Johnson to Compete in Super Bowl LVII

Del Johnson, local restaurant entrepreneur and Mom of Philadelphia Eagles safety Chauncey “C.J.” Gardner-Johnson, will be celebrating Super Bowl LVII tonight at her new restaurant, Kings Grill, located at 400 Barton Boulevard in Rockledge. Anticipating community excitement, Ms. Johnson has also arranged for additional food trucks and outdoor projection screens as her son C.J. competes in his first Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.

C.J.’s journey to the NFL began as a high school football player at Cocoa High School where he graduated in December 2015. From Cocoa, he went on to play for the University of Florida and was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. In August 2022, his talents took him north to the Philadelphia Eagles and tonight, he will be playing in the NFL’s greatest game of the year. 

Good luck to C.J. and Ms. Johnson on this exciting time in both of your lives.

City of Palm Bay Hosts “State of the City” Update

Last week, the City of Palm Bay held its annual “State of the City” event highlighting managed growth, new development, and job creation throughout the City among other accomplishments including:

  • Expansion of public safety with the hiring of 16 new police officers and 12 new firefighters
  • Plans for two new fire stations–Palm Bay Road and Northwest Malabar Road
  • Establishment of the Palm Bay Fire Rescue Training Tower and Burn Building at Fire Station 5
  • Issuing over 3,000 building permits totaling $246 million in investment
  • Addition of baffle boxes to treat wastewater thanks to funding secured by Senator Mayfield and others at the state level
  • Favorably resolving over 3,935 property code compliance issues by working closely with both the complainant and violator
  • The addition of new companies or expansion of existing companies to create hundreds of new jobs including GEI Works, Rogue Valley Micro Devices, BRP USA, Inc., Boat and Motor Superstore, Oak View Animal Hospital, and Palm Bay Hospital, among others

Palm Bay’s 2023 population of 124,731 is a 4.15% increase from the most recent 2020 U.S. census, making it the 16th largest city in Florida. For more information about the City of Palm Bay, click here.

EFSC President Dr. Jim Richey’s Contract Extended

Florida State College Board of Trustees has extended President Dr. Jim Richey’s contract to 2028, citing his “superb leadership in continuing to move the college forward.”

Trustees cited Dr. Richey’s numerous achievements the past year, including holding tuition rates constant for 11 years, gaining state funding for major new projects, and training students for high-tech careers.

“As I enter my 12th year as President, I want us to exceed the expectations of all of our students and our entire community in absolutely everything we do. We should strive to be not only the best in Florida, but also the best in the nation,” stated Dr. Richey.

Accomplishments under Dr. Richey’s leadership include: 

  • $87 million to modernize the Cocoa Campus with new and renovated academic buildings, student housing, and major improvements to the grounds
  • $21 million in state funding for a Center for Innovative Technology Education on the Melbourne Campus, and Aerospace Center of Excellence on the Titusville Campus
  • Recognition from the U.S. National Security Agency recognizing EFSC’s Cyber Security Center on the Palm Bay Campus as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense
  • $839,000 in scholarships awarded to 940 students through the EFSC Foundation

For more information on Eastern Florida and its programs, visit

Upcoming Events

Launch Learning Preschool, a Legacy Program of the Eastern Florida State College Lab School, is Now Open

On Saturday, February 25th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. the Launch Learning Preschool, located at 315 South Courtenay Way in Merritt Island, will hold a grand opening event. Special activities include guest appearances by the Paw Patrol characters, arts and crafts, face painting, bounce houses, and carnival games.

Launch Learning Preschool offers a unique approach to early childhood education (ages six weeks to five years) through parent-involved educational programs. The program emphasizes play-based learning, social and emotional development, parent education, and community involvement.

“Our team is honored to carry the torch of helping grow confident families here on the Space Coast,” said Launch Learning Executive Director Jonnah Buchanan. “We have seen the (EFSC) Lab School mission fulfilled in so many families and are thrilled to be able to provide this asset to the next generation.”

Launch Learning Preschool plans to offer financial scholarships, VPK options, after-school care, and enrichment programs. Enrollment for the 2023-24 school year will begin in March 2023.  

For more information or to tour the facility, call 321-453-6597 or click here.

Sebastian Inlet to Receive Truck Loads of Sand to Bolster Beaches

Brevard County officials are working to strengthen area beaches from future storm damage and to repair erosion caused by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole. Approximately 1,700 truckloads of sand are being brought in from Fort Pierce with “a major focus” on a 1.5 mile stretch of the Sebastian Inlet situated between Brevard and Indian River counties. 

“The $1.3 million project which is being paid for with ad valorem taxes is much cheaper than dredging, which can cost several million dollars,” Sebastian Inlet River District officials say. “The reason we do this is the inlet affects the down-drift beaches, as far as losing some of the sand, and it ends up in the inlet system.”

Some beach access points will be temporarily closed while work is being done. The project is expected to be finished by March 1st.

To learn more about the Sebastian Inlet River District and ongoing projects, 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


Kelli Lane

Yvette Campbell

Joshua McWilliams

Ian Nolan