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Get the latest coverage of the 2022 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

'Miya's Law' would tighten apartment security introduced after the 19-year-old's homicide

Orange County Sheriff's Office

Miya Marcano was killed earlier this year by a maintenance worker who later killed himself got into her apartment using a master key fob, police said.

Lawmakers want apartment complexes to do more to protect tenants after the death of Miya Marcano.

Marcano, 19, was killed earlier this year. Police say a maintenance worker who later killed himself used a master key fob to get into her apartment.

Orlando Sen. Linda Stewart filed Senate Bill 898 Friday. If passed, the measure would require apartments to run nationwide criminal background checks on all employees.

But the law stops short of forbidding apartments from hiring people with a criminal background. Stewart said apartment complexes would be risking a civil lawsuit if they knowingly hired someone with a criminal record.

“It is in their benefit not to hire somebody because they will have a civil lawsuit on their hands if they do,” Stewart said. “I hope it will go a long way to creating a more safer environment. The background check is going to be paramount in making sure no one is hired who has a violent background.”

The bill would also require apartments to keep logs of master keys and give tenants more notice before owners can enter apartments.

Stewart said lawmakers talked about requiring apartment complexes to have electronic key-fob access – but ultimately backed down from that.

“Making everyone switch over to a different type of security thing was, we thought, a bit much,” Stewart said.

The bill is sponsored by Robin Bartleman in the House. SB 898 would need to get passage through three committees before going to a vote from the full chamber.

The bill would also give tenants more notice before owners can enter apartments. It applies to apartments with five or more units, but does not apply to dormitories.

In a press release, the Miya Marcano Foundation endorsed the bill.

“On behalf of the Miya Marcano Foundation, we thank you for your continued support,” said Yma Suling Scarbriel, Miya’s Mother and Marlon Marcano, Miya’s Father. “Our daughter meant the world to us. Although we still mourn the loss of Miya, we are sincerely grateful to everyone who has come together to help our family get Miya’s Law filed within the state of Florida. We firmly believe that passing ‘Miya’s Law’ will save lives. It is our hope that law makers on both sides unanimously vote to pass ‘Miya’s Law.’ Our daughter’s law can potentially save your daughter or loved one’s life, so when you go to vote, please think of Miya.” 

Copyright 2021 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.