Feb. 25, 2016 News Briefs


Rep. Stevenson advances
“Carl’s Law” to Fla. House floor

This week Representative Cyndi Stevenson will bring HB 387 – “Carl’s Law” to the floor of the Florida House of Representatives. HB 387 renames a section of Florida law as “Carl’s Law” in honor of Carl Starke who was killed in St. Johns County after being targeted for having a disability. This bill seeks to increase awareness of this type of crime against vulnerable individuals in order to help prevent similar tragedies in the future. Additionally, the St. Johns County Legislative Delegation, which includes Sen. Travis Hutson and Rep. Paul Renner, has designated this bill as a priority for the 2016 session. Upon its approval by the full membership of the House of Representatives, “Carl’s Law” will head to the Florida Senate.
For more information regarding “Carl’s Law,” as well as other bills filed for the 2016 legislative session, please visit www.myfloridahouse.gov or contact the office of Representative Stevenson.

Zika virus update in St. Johns County

St. Johns County is one of eight Florida counties under a declaration of public health emergency due to at least one case of the Zika virus. There are 21 reported cases of the virus in Florida. Other counties with infections include Broward, Hillsborough, Miami-Dad, Osceola and Santa Rosa. St. Johns County has one reported case.
Last week, St. Johns County Commissioners approved the rezoning of eight acres of county property so that researchers at Anastasia Mosquito Control can move into a larger facility. The new facility, off of I-95, offers 20,000 square feet.
According to the Florida Department of Health, however, none of the Florida cases of Zika were contracted within the state, and none involved pregnant women. Zika fever is a mild febrile illness caused by a mosquito-borne virus similar to those that cause dengue and West Nile virus infection, according to FDOH. Signs and symptoms of Zika fever may include: acute onset of low-grade fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (reddening of eye), body aches, headache, eye pain and vomiting. Treatment is symptomatic since there is no specific treatment against the virus. Illness typically resolves within a week. The health concerns for pregnant women contracting Zika arise from reports originating with the Ministry of Heatlh of Brazil, which states that it has seen an increase in the numbers of newborns with microcephaly in areas experiencing Zika virus outbreaks. The FDOH states that further studies are being conducted to investigate this concern, and that there are many causes of microcephaly in babies, including genetic abnormalities, environmental factors and some infections acquired during pregnancy.

Former assistant county administrator
to run for commissioner seat

Jerry Cameron announced this month that he will run for the St. Johns County Commissioner seat for District 3. Cameron worked as the Assistant County Administrator for nine years in St. Johns County before recently resigning to run for the seat. Before working in the area, he acted as police chief of Fernandina Beach.
“He has an intimate knowledge of the county and the workings of its government,” said Dan Macdonald, Vicar’s Landing member and chairman of the member’s council, at a meeting of the Ponte Vedra Beaches Coalition. “He’s a friend of Ponte Vedra and will help us to maintain our local zoning ordinances.”
Bill McClure currently sits in the District 3 seat, but has not yet registered to run for reelection. St. Johns County will vote on three commission seats in November.

DeSantis announces Congressional Art Competition
Rep. Ron DeSantis will begin accepting submissions for the 2016 Congressional Art Competition Feb. 29–March 25. Entries will be posted on DeSantis’ official Facebook page from March 28 until April 1. Constituents will be encouraged to vote on their favorite artwork and the 10 submissions with the most “likes” will be presented to a panel of local judges on April 10. The winning artwork will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol for one year. Transportation will be provided for the first place winner and a guest to fly to Washington, D.C. to see their art displayed during an unveiling ceremony in June. Teachers and students should contact DeSantis’ Washington office at (202) 225-2706 or visit desantis.house.gov for further information on submission guidelines and criteria.