Tuesday, March 7th marked the opening day of the 2023 Legislative Session. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner gave their remarks in their respective chambers. Governor DeSantis gave the State of the State address during the Joint session.
During President Passidomo’s opening day remarks, she said, “Senators, this Opening Day feels a little different. It seems like we have already been “open” for quite a while. But this Opening Day is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves why we are here. We are here to serve the people of Florida. Each of us represents more than 560,000 Floridians in our district. They are the reasons we are here, and it is our responsibility to carry their voices to Tallahassee.”
Over the next 60 days, the Florida Senate is committed to keeping Florida free and open for business. We will continue to make historic investments in affordable housing and the environment, secure our border and preserve the second amendment, while ensuring parental rights in education and access to school choice which best meets the needs of individual students.
I consider it a great honor to represent District 19. Please share this link with your friends and family so that 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!
Honoring Florida’s Women in Leadership
Senate President Kathleen Passidomo
Senator Kathleen C. Passidomo is President of the Florida Senate. She is the third woman to serve as president in the 185-year history of the Florida Senate. Senator Passidomo was officially elected in 2021 by her colleagues to assume the role of Senate President for the 2023-2024 legislative term.
Prior to her role as President, Senator Passidomo served as Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, a position to which she was appointed by former Senate President Wilton Simpson. She also previously served as a member of the following committees: Appropriations, Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, Banking and Insurance, Education, Regulated Industries, and the Joint Legislative Budget Commission.
Senate President Passidomo was elected to the Florida Senate in November 2016 after serving in the Florida House of Representatives since 2010.
President Passidomo graduated in 1975 from Trinity College (now University) in Washington, D.C., after which she spent eight months backpacking in Southeast Asia. In December 1978, she received her law degree from Stetson University’s College of Law and built her practice around Real Estate and Business Law in Naples. She was in the first group of attorneys in the state to obtain Board Certification in Real Estate Law, and her peers elected her to serve as President of both the Collier County Bar Association and the Collier County Women’s Bar Association.
As President Passidomo’s career progressed, she used her background and legal skills to help almost 100 civic, charitable, and business organizations with their corporate documents and governance structure.
From creating the Collier County Juvenile Justice Council to serving as Co-Chair of the Community Engagement Initiative of the Education Foundation of Collier County- Champions for Learning (“Connect Now”), and as President of the Southwest Florida Land Preservation Trust to chairing the Board of The United Way of Collier County, she had the opportunity to work with citizens from all over Southwest Florida with a common goal of making the community a better place to live, work, raise a family, and retire.
President Passidomo and her husband John have lived in Naples for more than 40 years. Together, they have three children, Catarina, Francesca and Gabriella, and two grandsons, William and Emilio.
To learn more about Senator Passidomo, click here.
Senate President Passidomo and Speaker Renner also Provide Opening Day Remarks
Last week, Governor DeSantis delivered the 2023 State of the State address before the Florida Senate, House of Representatives, Florida Cabinet, and the Florida Supreme Court.
This was the Governor’s first State of the State speech since winning a landslide election in November 2022. His speech was filled with a series of accomplishments demonstrating critical areas in which Florida ranks first in the nation.
“Florida is the fastest growing state in the nation. We rank number one for net in-migration. We rank number one in the nation for new business formations. We are number one in economic growth among large states,” said Governor DeSantis.
He condemned woke-ness agendas, denounced exposing students to age inappropriate material in schools, and affirmed his longstanding position that schools must provide a “good education, not a political indoctrination.”
Governor DeSantis emphasized his rejection of vaccine mandates by stating, ““No Floridian should have to choose between a job they need and a shot they don’t want.”
Additionally, he reiterated his staunch support for law enforcement officers and his fierce defense of the state’s border and protecting residents from illegal immigration and deadly Fentanyl.
“We find ourselves in Florida on the frontlines in the battle for freedom,” DeSantis said. “We won’t back down,” he added, “and I can promise you this: you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
The Governor’s full State of the State can be viewed here and a transcript can be read here.
Additionally, President Passidomo and Speaker Renner addressed members in their respective chambers on opening day.
Highlights of President Passidomo’s remarks include:
School Choice: “We will make school choice a reality for every child in every family across our great state.”
Affordable Housing: “With this legislation all of the families, workers and so many others who are flocking to Florida from high-tax, lockdown states can live conveniently close to the communities they serve.”
Second Amendment: “We will enhance public safety by codifying the constitutional right of citizens to keep and bear arms. At the same time, we will expand tools available to law enforcement and educators working to keep our communities and schools safe.”
In closing, President Passidomo said, “This is the thoughtful, deliberative process that has guided our Chamber throughout Florida’s history, and we can all be proud to be a part of this rich legislative tradition. At the root of it all is the people we serve…Senators, the eyes of the nation are on Florida this year. Let’s show America how it’s done.”
The transcript for President Passidomo’s remarks can be found here.
Highlights of Speaker Renner’s remarks include:
School Safety / Parental Rights: “Parents expect schools to keep their children safe, respect their values, and teach the reading, math, and general knowledge that kids need to succeed in life.”
Second Amendment: “Here in Florida, we will protect and expand the rights of law-abiding men and women to defend themselves and others.”
Right to Life: “We must defend the right to life for thousands of boys and girls who deserve to experience life, find love, and enrich the lives of others.”
The transcript for Speaker Renner’s remarks can be found here.
Week One Update from Florida Senate
Below are a few highlights from the first week of the 2023 Legislative Session in the Florida Senate:
SB 102: The “Live Local Act” presented by Senator Alexis Calatayud passed unanimously on the Senate Floor.
The bill fully funds vital home ownership and rental assistance programs, codifies and expands the Hometown Hero Program, and creates a “Missing Middle” tax exemption for developments that provide affordable housing options. Senate Bill 102 also revises Florida’s state housing strategy to ensure there is a specific focus on providing attainable housing to the workers who keep our economy moving.
The next stop for SB 102 is the House of Representatives. To view the full language of SB 102, click here.
SB 106: The “Florida Shared Use Network Trail Network” bill presented by Senator Jason Brodeur passed unanimously on the Senate Floor.
The bill expands access to Florida’s Wildlife Corridor and provides never-before-seen recreational opportunities across the State of Florida. This expansion is achieved through the construction of shared-use nonmotorized trails that will connect nature trails, loop trails, and other points of public access to Florida’s Wildlife Corridor.
The next stop for SB 106 is the House of Representatives. To view the full language of SB 106, click here.
SB 170: The “Local Ordinances” bill presented by Senator Jay Trumbull passed favorably on the Senate floor.
The bill provides communities with the transparency they deserve by requiring local governments to produce a “business impact estimate” and publish it on their website prior to passing certain ordinances. Communities have the right to know what is at stake when a local government is considering new ordinances.
This legislation provides conditions for lawsuits brought by any party claiming the local ordinance is unlawful, arbitrary, or unreasonable. SB 170 requires local governments to suspend the enforcement of an ordinance if a party files a challenge with the court within 90 days of its adoption.
The next stop for SB 170 is the House of Representatives. To view the full language of SB 170, click here.
SB 150: Senator Jay Collins presented SB 150, Codifying the Second Amendment, to the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy where it passed with strong support.
The bill enhances public safety through robust protections of the 2nd Amendment and comprehensive school safety measures. Under SB 150, individuals who are legally allowed to purchase a firearm are not required to possess a permit when carrying a firearm in a concealed manner. All individuals carrying a concealed weapon must possess a valid photo identification and present identification to a law enforcement officer upon request.
The bill also provides funding for school hardening and codifies critical public safety measures such as active assailant response programs, state-wide threat assessment policies, and the Florida Safe Schools Canine Program.
The next stop for SB 150 is the full Senate.
SB 202: Senator Corey Simon presented SB 202, Expanding School Choice, to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education where it passed with strong committee support.
SB 202 enhances the educational voucher program and ensures that educational funding in Florida follows students, not systems. Whether a student and their family wish to attend a public, charter, private, or home school, this legislation will give every Florida student the opportunity to excel and thrive through their educational journey regardless of their zip code.
This legislation also removes burdensome regulations on teachers that unnecessarily overcomplicate the recertification process.
The next stop for SB 202 is the full Appropriations committee.
SB 662: Senator Jennifer Bradley presented SB 662, Protecting Student Privacy, to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it passed with strong committee support.
Senate Bill 662 establishes a secure shelter of students’ personal information. This Legislation will prohibit operators of websites, online services, or online applications from collecting, disclosing, or selling student data. Under this legislation, operators will only be able to collect information that is necessary for the operation of educational technology and will be prohibited from using student data to engage in targeted advertising.
The next stop for SB 662 is the Education Pre K – 12 Committee.
SB 732: Senator Jay Collins presented SB 732, which he is co-sponsoring with Senator Tom Wright, to the Senate Committee on Postsecondary Education where it passed with strong committee support.
This legislation establishes the Collegiate Purple Star Campuses program to further build upon Florida’s already renowned support offered to military students. Through program, Florida College System institutions will designate a military liaison to offer services to military students, offer a student-led transition program to assist military students in transitioning to the institution, and provide professional development training opportunities to staff members to ensure they are better prepared to assist military students.
The next stop for the SB 732 is the Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security.
Constituent of the Week
Adrienne Romberger, Author
Adrienne Romberger grew up in Florida at the dawn of the Space Race. For her, it was a time of great optimism, creative arts, sports, and the beach life. From a young age she dreamed of traveling across America, and maybe one day Europe, Africa, or Asia.
During college one of her first jobs was working summers as a tour guide on the newly retired RMS Queen Elizabeth cruise ship. During the same time period Ms. Romberger drove to Titusville to view the first launch to the moon from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Watching Apollo, 8 and then Apollo 11 liftoff was a sight and sound that still lingers in her memory.
As a journalism major, Ms. Romberger’s first full-time job was as a public relations writer for a large land developer. As much as she enjoyed writing about different parts of Florida, her love of art led her to become a graphic artist for a popular South Florida society magazine during the 1970’s.
Like many moms-to-be, she placed her writing and illustrating career on hold to raise her sons and became the “room mother” in their classrooms. As her sons grew older she returned to college to earn a degree in education, ultimately becoming a fourth-grade elementary school teacher. She shared her love of the U.S. Space program with her students organizing their yearly field trip to the U.S. Space Camp at the Kennedy Space Center.
Changing directions again, she decided to teach a Cambridge University class on the Cold War to high school students during the first decade of the 21st century. When Ms. Romberger retired from teaching, she moved very near to the Kennedy Space Center. She took a part-time job as a tour guide at KSC and enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. She shared her enthusiasm for the U.S. Space program, met astronauts, and observed countless launches.
Ms. Romberger’s story is not done; in fact, her children’s book, Ticket to Space was selected by the “Story Time from Space” program to travel to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule which carried four astronauts to the ISS just last week. The “Story Time from Space” program carefully selects specific books to be read by an astronaut in space on video and provided via streaming to elementary school children across the United States and worldwide. Ticket to Space is the fictional story of a little boy named “Rocky” modeled after her grandsons and their fascination with outer space and past and present human space travel.
Ms. Romberger resides in Titusville with her husband of 45 years and enjoys spending time with her sons and grandsons.
District 19 congratulates Ms. Romberger for this incredibly unique honor and recognition of having her book traveling to the ISS to be enjoyed by children across the globe.
SpaceX Launches 40 OneWeb Satellites
Last week SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launched 40 OneWeb satellites into low-Earth orbit from the Space Coast. This was the 17th mission for the London-based OneWeb company and brings their total fleet of satellites in low-Earth orbit to 582.
“The launch will enable the company to continue expanding services around the world as it grows its fleet and seeks to initiate services for more partners around the world, providing internet connectivity to unserved and underserved rural and remote communities and businesses,” according to OneWeb.
SpaceX confirmed, “The well-traveled first stage boosted the rocket out of the lower atmosphere and then fell away to fly itself back to a picture-perfect landing at the Space Force station while the second stage continued the climb to orbit. The landing marked SpaceX’s 177th successful booster recovery and its 32nd at Cape Canaveral.”
To watch a replay of the successful launch, click here.
McKee Botanical Garden Selected by Florida Department of State for Annual March of Museums
McKee Botanical Garden will once again be participating in the Florida Department of State’s (DOS) March of Museums. The event, hosted annually throughout the month of March, by the DOS highlights 120 museums, historic sites, children’s museums, zoos, and gardens in six Florida regions.
The initiative was created to celebrate the variety and versatility of museums, historic sites, cultural institutions, and the important services they provide to our communities. The goal is to connect visitors and residents with the new and historic attributes already available in their local areas.
“McKee Botanical Garden is proud to be a participating member of the March of Museums program again this year. We hope visitors from all over Florida will enjoy celebrating the history, culture, art, and natural beauty that McKee Botanical Garden has to offer,” stated Executive Director Christine Hobart.
The McKee Botanical Garden, founded in 1929, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and endorsed by The Garden Conservancy as a project of national significance. For more information, click here.
Brevard County Announces Job Fair
Brevard County will be hosting a job fair on Thursday, March 16th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Brevard County Government Complex, located at 2725 Judge Fran Jameison Way, in Viera.
Interested applicants should bring copies of their resume with current contact information. Upon review, if your resume looks to be the right fit, then a member of personnel will meet with you in person. Brevard County is hiring for all fields from human resources to information technology. Pre-registration is not required, staff members will be on hand for assistance, and computers will available to apply for open positions on site.
For more information, click here.
“All Systems Are Go” at Kennedy Space Center for the New Peanuts Interactive Show
A new interactive show featuring Snoopy and other Peanuts characters, will open at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Friday, March 24th.
The 20-minute show will be held in the Universe Theater and features new puppetry, lights, laser projections, and sound effects. KSC teases the show portrays the Peanuts characters, including Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and Lucy as they are called upon to assist the launch director on the next NASA mission — Artemis.
“We have been working hard to make sure that our multigenerational appeal extends to our youngest space explorers,” Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Chief Operating Officer Therrin Protze said in a statement. “This new show will delight guests of all ages as it features the lovable Peanuts characters and Snoopy, who have contributed to the excitement for NASA human spaceflight missions for more than 50 years.”
“All Systems Are Go” also will feature an original score that was created exclusively for the show with a musical mix of orchestral, contemporary, and jazz styles.
Single-day admission to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is $75 per adult and $65 per child.
For more information or tickets, click here.
MPD Officers Holding 3rd Annual Kid’s Fishing Clinic
Ballard Park Boat Ramp Accessibility will be Briefly Impacted
The City of Melbourne police officers will be holding the 3rd Annual Kid’s Fishing Clinic on Saturday, March 25th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Ballard Park, located at 924 Thomas Barbour Drive in Melbourne.
Due to the special event, the Ballard Park boat ramp will be closed for boaters from March 24th at 10:00 p.m. to March 25th at 4:00 p.m.
The event is sponsored by the Eau Gallie Rotary Club and free of charge. The fishing clinic is geared to ages five to 15 and all participants must be accompanied by an adult. After completion of the education session, participants will receive a free fishing pole and bait and spend the remainder of the day with MPD officers while learning about the local ecosystem and improving their fishing skills.
To provide the best learning experience for each participant, space is limited and early registration is highly encouraged. To enter you must present a paper or digital ticket which you can obtain here.
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