TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Renters in Florida are one step closer to new protections after the Senate unanimously passed Miya’s Law on Friday.
The bill is named after Miya Marcano, the 19-year-old Orlando woman who investigators believe was murdered by a maintenance man who worked at her apartment complex, and had a master key to her unit.
“We really want to give Miya’s family an opportunity. She doesn’t have one through the justice system, because the person who attacked her and killed her, killed himself, so this a way for her legacy to live on,” said Sen. Linda Stewart (D), the lawmaker who originally proposed the bill in the Senate.
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According to a lawsuit filed by Miya’s family against the apartment complex, the maintenance man had a criminal history, a history of harassing women and unsupervised access to Miya’s apartment.
Miya’s family watched as Senate lawmakers debated the bill and applauded after it passed.
“The past few months have been unbelievable, to say the least. What my family and I have been going through, words can never explain,” Miya’s father, Marlon Marcano, said after the bill passed. “We are grateful for the outcome of today.”
“Although we couldn’t save you, baby girl, we are doing our best to save others. We love you, very much,” Miya’s uncle, Marvin Marcano said.
Miya’s Law now heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk for his stamp of approval.
If DeSantis signs, landlords will be required to background apartment complex employees. People with a violent criminal history or anyone listed as a sexual offender or sexual predator will not be eligible for hire.
Landlords will also have to give tenants 24-hours of notice before entering their apartments and keep a master log of who is accessing any master keys.
Hotels will also not be allowed to offer an hourly rate anymore; a measure that was introduced in an effort to help stop human trafficking.
“Unfortunately this law is not retroactive, and it’s not going to bring Miya back. But because of this family, because of her parents, her extended family, because of the Miya Marcanao Foundation, we are going to protect other people’s children,” said Rep. Robin Bartleman, the House sponsor of the bill.
The man suspected of killing Miya killed himself days after she disappeared. His death was ruled a suicide by the medical examiner’s office.
The passing of this bill comes just days after an elderly woman was raped by one of her apartment complex workers in Osceola County.
If DeSantis signs the bill, proof of compliance will be reviewed during annual license inspections.