State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 03/19/2023

Good Morning!

We completed week two of the 2023 Legislative Session with a number of bills passing through Senate committees as part of the process in reaching the full Senate. The bills ranged in topics from school choice to protecting children through the prohibition of gender reassignment treatments, and the inclusion of other opioid synthetics similar to Fentanyl as Schedule One controlled substances. Additionally, bills addressing workforce development initiatives and protecting Florida from foreign threats also advanced.

As we continue to celebrate outstanding women leaders in Florida during National Women’s History month, this week we are highlighting Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez and Director Janet Petro of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center.

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

Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez

Jeanette M. Nuñez was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She was elected as Florida’s first Hispanic female Lieutenant Governor in 2018.

When Governor DeSantis announced his selection of Jeanette Nuñez to serve along side him as Lieutenant Governor in his 2018 election, he said, “Jeanette Nuñez is a strong, principled leader who will be an outstanding Lieutenant Governor for the people of Florida. She has a proven record of leadership and legislative accomplishments, delivering for both her constituents in Miami-Dade and Florida as a whole. Jeanette will help us build on our economic success, protect our environment and empower parents to make the best educational decisions for their children…This is the type of person that I think is a role model for everybody, but particularly young women.”

In addition to her duties as Lieutenant Governor, she has been tasked with overseeing the Florida Department of Health, as well as serving as the Chair of Space Florida. Additionally, she serves as Chair of Florida’s Cybersecurity Task Force and is a member of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking.

Lieutenant Governor Nuñez previously served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018 and was named Speaker Pro Tempore from 2016 to 2018. Lieutenant Governor Nuñez began her healthcare career working at Jackson Health System in 2004 as the State Director for Government Relations handling all aspects of the hospital’s state affairs.

In 2006, she was promoted to Vice President of Government Relations overseeing local, state, and federal affairs. She has served on numerous boards and healthcare organizations. In 2010, Lieutenant Governor Nuñez became Vice President of Community Affairs for Kendall Regional and Aventura Hospitals and Medical Centers.

Lieutenant Governor Nuñez is a proud graduate of Florida International University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in International Relations and Political Science and a Master’s of Arts degree in Public Administration.

She is married to Adrian Nuñez and together they are the proud parents of three children.

Statewide Update

Governor DeSantis Announces Nearly 11,000 Foreigners Repatriated After Attempting to Enter Florida Illegally

Recently Governor DeSantis announced that since August 21, 2022, nearly 11,000 migrants have been repatriated after attempting to enter the state illegally. Last weekend, 167 migrants were interdicted, with 51 migrants apprehended upon landing. Nearly 350 migrant vessels have been reported, with 259 removed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Earlier in the week, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 23-49, extending the state of emergency for the ongoing illegal migration.

“As Biden’s Border Crisis continues unabated, my administration is working hard to protect our communities and businesses from the many threats posed by illegal immigration,” said Governor DeSantis. “Because of our action, we have seen a drop in the number of vessels and people able to make landing in the Florida Keys, and our continued presence serves as a deterrent for illegal immigration. By extending the State of Emergency, we will continue to surge resources to assist interdiction and repatriation efforts.”

On January 6, 2023, Governor DeSantis signed EO 23-03 declaring a State of Emergency in response to the surge in migration along Florida’s coastline. On February 15, Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 6-B, creating the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program within FDEM.

Earlier this week, the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced the most recent strike force interdiction operations resulted in the interception of 15 undocumented aliens, the confiscation of over four pounds of Fentanyl, which is enough to kill one million people, and 39 pounds of methamphetamine.

Florida’s Unemployment Rate Remains Lower than the National Average for the 27th Consecutive Month

Last week Governor DeSantis announced Florida’s January 2023 unemployment rate was 2.6% and remained lower than the national average for the 27th consecutive month while job growth outperformed the nation for the 22nd consecutive month. Florida’s private sector employment grew by 5.3 percent (433,100 jobs) over the year in January 2023, 1.7 percent faster than the national rate of 3.6 percent over the same time period.

“Florida is number one in net migration, tourism, and new business formations because we have bucked the elites and forged our own path forward towards success,” said Governor DeSantis. “We will continue to prioritize policies that support Florida families as they continue to face persistent inflation and national economic headwinds.”

Brevard County’s January 2023 unemployment rate matched the state at 2.6% and Indian River County’s rate was just slightly higher at 3%.

To view the January 2023 employment data, click here.

Governor DeSantis Leads Alliance of 18 States to Fight Against Biden’s ESG Financial Fraud

Last week Governor DeSantis led 18 State Governors in forming an alliance to push back against President Biden’s environmental, social, corporate governance (ESG) agenda that is destabilizing the American economy and the global financial system. Earlier this month, Congress took action to pass legislation which would keep politics out of Americans’ retirement funds; however, President Biden has promised to veto this measure to further his progressive agenda. 

In a joint statement proposed by Florida, these states committed to lead state-level efforts to protect individuals from the ESG movement that threatens the vitality of the American economy and Americans’ economic freedom, such as removing all state pension funds and state-controlled investments from firms that follow the ESG model of ‘politics before fiduciary duty.’

“At my direction, Florida has led the way in combatting the pernicious effects of the ESG regime by directing our state pension fund managers to reject ESG and instead focus on obtaining the highest return on investment for Florida’s taxpayers and retirees,” said Governor DeSantis.

Last month, Governor DeSantis announced legislation to protect Floridians from ESG. This legislation will safeguard Floridians’ economic liberty by: Prohibiting big banks, trusts, and other financial institutions from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs — including their support for securing the border, owning a firearm, and increasing our energy independence.

More information about Governor DeSantis’ legislative proposal can be found here.

Week Two Update from the Florida Senate

Below are a few highlights from the second week of the 2023 Legislative Session in the Florida Senate:

SB 202: “Funding Students, Not Systems” Passed with Favorable Committee Support

Senator Corey Simon presented Senate Bill 202 in the Senate Appropriations Committee where it passed with strong committee support. SB 202 establishes universal school choice across Florida, ensuring that students receive an education that meets their unique needs.

This legislation expands Florida’s educational voucher program and allows every student to receive an education in a setting fit to their own individual needs.

SB 202 puts parents in the driver’s seat regarding their child’s education, provides parents and students with the full array of educational opportunities, and ensures that a child’s future is not determined by their zip-code. 

The next stop for SB 202 is the Senate Floor.

SB 254: “Protecting Florida’s Most Vulnerable” Passed with Favorable Committee Support

Senator Clay Yarborough presented Senate Bill 254 in the Senate Committee on Health Policy where it passed with significant committee support. Senate Bill 254 provides critical protections for Florida’s youth from harmful gender reassignment procedures and prescriptions.

The legislation prohibits gender reassignment prescriptions or procedures for any patient under the age of 18. Additionally, SB 254 requires informed consent for patients over the age of 18 to ensure the adult patient is fully informed by their physician of the increased risks and the permanency of gender reassignment procedures and prescriptions. Further, this legislation prohibits the use of certain state funds to fund gender reassignment prescriptions or procedures.

The next stop for SB 254 is the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee.

SB 240: “Reimagining Workforce Development” Passed Unanimously with Committee Support

Senator Travis Hutson presented Senate Bill 240 in the Senate Committee on Pre K–12 Education where it passed with unanimous committee support. SB 240 reimagines and revitalizes workforce development programs hosted within Florida’s schools.

Through a comprehensive approach, incorporating local businesses, community boards, and public schools, this legislation expands opportunities for middle and high school students to receive valuable career training while still enrolled in a Florida public school.

SB 240 revises current high school graduation requirements to place a specific emphasis on educational curriculum that is focused on technical education and career training. Additionally, this legislation establishes a program that allows local businesses to assess the job market for their specified region and collaborate with local schools to ensure that roles found to be of a greater need are greater emphasized in our educational system.

The next stop for SB 240 is the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee.

SB 264: “Defending Florida from Foreign Threats” Passed with Favorable Committee Support

Senator Jay Collins presented Senate Bill 264 in the Senate Judiciary Committee where it passed with strong committee support. SB 264 prohibits foreign adversaries and companies funded by adversaries from purchasing agricultural land in the State of Florida.

Due to the growing threat of the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to weaken America’s national security through strategic land purchases, it is critical that we protect the health of our agriculture industry. SB 264 ensures that America’s enemies will be strictly prohibited from purchasing agricultural land in the State of Florida. This is a crucial step to protect Florida’s food supply and broader security interests.

The next stop for SB 264 is the Senate Committee on Rules.

SB 736: “Tackling the Fentanyl Crisis” Passed with Unanimous Committee Support

Senator Jason Brodeur presented Senate Bill 736 in the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice where it passed with unanimous committee support. Senate Bill 736 adds Nitazenes, synthetic opioids similar to Fentanyl, to the list of Schedule 1 controlled substances.

As the Fentanyl crisis continues to threaten millions of Floridians each day, it is critical that the legislature take a proactive approach to ensure that we limit the negative impact of synthetic drugs that are flooding into our state through the southern border.

The legislation ensures that our law enforcement agencies across the state have the necessary tools to cease the distribution of Nitazenes and hold those accountable who are distributing this poison in our communities.

The next stop for SB 736 is the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee.

Constituent of the Week

Janet E. Petro, Director

John F. Kennedy Space Center

Janet E. Petro was named the 11th director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on June 30, 2021.

Prior to being named director, Ms. Petro served as the deputy director (appointed in April 2007) where she shared responsibility with then Director Robert Cabana in managing the KSC team of civil service and contractor employees. Ms. Petro is known for consistently pioneering and implementing novel business approaches that reduce barriers to collaboration and innovation.

She provides executive leadership as well as short-term and long-term visions for the Center while overseeing the Nation’s premier commercial and Government launch complex. Since the successful retirement of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011, she increased her far-reaching and lasting impact on NASA’s legacy by again helping to establish KSC’s future in the American space program and transforming KSC from a Government-centered launch facility into the Nation’s premier multiuser spaceport.

Ms. Petro ensured Agency and Center Partnership Boards were established, personally leading the KSC Board to explore, develop, implement, and sustain processes and other initiatives to use existing NASA capabilities, workforce, and facilities with commercial partners. 

Prior to joining NASA, Ms. Petro served in various management positions for Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) and McDonnell Douglas Aerospace Corp. At SAIC, she held a number of management positions within the corporation’s operations, interfacing with NASA, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, and commercial entities on numerous aerospace and military programs. At McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, Ms. Petro advanced from mechanical engineer and payload manager to multiple management positions including program manager for executing a classified, multimillion-dollar U.S. Department of Defense program, to senior manager for Communications and Data Systems Division.

She is also the recipient of a President’s Distinguished executive award, and has received the astronaut-selected Silver Snoopy award for outstanding performance for contributing to flight safety and mission success. In 2018, Director Petro was selected by Florida Governor Rick Scott for induction in the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame.

Ms. Petro’s professional career began decades ago as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army after graduating in 1981 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in engineering. She also holds a Master’s of Science degree in business administration from Boston University’s Metropolitan College.

District 19 is proud to highlight Ms. Janet Petro, another local leader with outstanding service and achievement in her field, during National Women’s History month.

District Highlights

Governor Jeanette Nuñez Visits Vero Beach to Discuss Cybersecurity in Florida

Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez visited Vero Beach last week to announce ongoing state measures to protect towns and counties from online cybersecurity threats. Lieutenant Governor Nuñez reminded local governments of a looming deadline to tap into a $30 million grant to help bolster local cyber security defenses.

Leadership of the Florida Cybersecurity Task Force, along with Sheriff Eric Flowers and Indian River State College President Timothy Moore spoke about local cyber vulnerabilities and digital workforce demands in Indian River County.

The Florida Cybersecurity Task Force was created and is a unit within the state Department of Management Services. President Timothy Moore said Indian River State College would soon provide for workforce demands to thwart the “pernicious threat” of online attacks and work in conjunction with the two-year tuition-free education for local graduates offered through the state’s Promise Program.

USA Today’s Readers Vote the Brevard Zoo as the Third Best Zoo in North America

The Brevard Zoo earned the number three spot for zoos in North America and the Zoo’s “Kayak Experience” earned the number seven spot for a Zoo exhibit as voted on by USA Today readers in their annual Readers’ Choice Awards. 

“Thank you to everyone who voted in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice awards. Your support helped our Zoo to be named number three in North America!” said a Brevard Zoo spokesperson.

“Our inclusion in the top three is a first since being nominated for these awards four years ago and is a testament to the incredible support our Zoo has been shown by our community since the start. We appreciate the vote of confidence in our work in animal wellness, conservation, and education.”

A panel of national experts worked with the USA Today’s “10 Best” editorial team to choose the nominees for each category and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

To learn more about this achievement and the Brevard Zoo, click here.

Upcoming Events

Brightline to Begin High Speed Testing at 110 MPH through Brevard County

Brightline will begin testing trains at high speeds, up to 110 miles-per-hour, in Brevard County as soon as Tuesday, March 28th and continuing through April. This latest phase of Brightline testing will take place along a 13-mile section of track, involving multiple railroad crossings in Brevard County through Rockledge and Melbourne. Testing will take place between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily.

Flaggers will be present at railroad crossings when there is active testing taking place in the area. Brightline is working with law enforcement agencies that will be present throughout the corridor.

Residents should be alert and follow the law around active railroad tracks and railroad crossings. Testing is expected to bring additional wait times at railroad crossings.

Brevard County RR Crossing Locations – Testing up to 110 mph


Rinker Way – Cemex/General Portland (private crossing)

Gus Hipp Rd.

Barnes Blvd. (SR 502)

Carver St.

Ansin Rd.

Viera Blvd.


Suntree Blvd.

Post Rd.

Parkway Ave.

Lake Washington Rd.

Important Safety Reminders:

  • Residents should be alert and follow the law around active railroad tracks and railroad crossings.
  • Drivers, pedestrians and cyclists should be aware that rail traffic will run on BOTH tracks in both directions.
  • Stay off the tracks and never go around crossing gates.
  • Only cross the railroad at a designated crossing.
  • Never stop on the tracks.
  • Failure to follow the law could result in fines, points on your license or loss of life. 

For more information, visit here.

The Palm Bay Fair is Back!

The Palm Bay Fair, a family favorite event, opened Friday, March 17th for a 10-day run at the Space Coast Harley-Davidson fairgrounds in Palm Bay. The event features, carnival foods, free unlimited rides, and free shows with gate admission of $25.00 or $30.00.

The Space Coast Harley-Davidson fairgrounds are conveniently located at 1440 Sportsman Lane NE on 15 acres at the intersection of Interstate 95 and Palm Bay Road.

Visitors should note the Palm Bay Fair operating schedule is as follows:

■ Monday thru Thursday: 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

■ Friday: 5:00 11:00 p.m.

■ Saturday: 1:00 11:30 p.m.

■ Sunday: 1:00 10:00 p.m.

For more information call 855-386-3836 or click here.

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Contact Information

Melbourne Office 

900 East Strawbridge Avenue

Melbourne, FL 32901

(321) 409-2025


Tallahassee Office

400 Senate Office Building

404 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

(850) 487-5019


Kelli Lane

Yvette Campbell

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