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Florida legislature passes ‘Miya’s Law,’ mandates background checks for building workers

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(ORLANDO, Fla.) — Nearly six months after college student Miya Marcano was allegedly murdered by a man who worked in her apartment building, Florida lawmakers have passed a bill mandating stronger protections for tenants.

“Miya’s Law,” which passed Friday in the state legislature, now mandates landlords and building managers require background checks for all prospective employees, reinforces requirements regarding access to individual units and requires landlords to give tenants 24 hours notice if a repairs need to take place.

State Sen. Linda Stewart, the bill’s lead sponsor, said she and her colleagues worked to ensure that what happened to the 19-year-old Valencia College student doesn’t happen again.

“I do hope with the passing of Miya’s Law, this will bring some peace to the family and knowing that their daughter’s death was not in vain,” she said in a statement.

On Sept. 25, Marcano went missing from her apartment in the Arden Villas complex in Orlando, Florida, and was found dead a week later in the woods. Investigators said Armando Caballero, a maintenance worker at Arden Villas, kidnapped and killed Marcano after gaining access to her apartment using his master key.

Investigators found Caballero dead in his apartment on Sept. 27 from an apparent suicide. They said there are no other suspects involved in the killing.

Marcano’s family said she rebuffed romantic advances from Caballero and they accused the apartment complex’s management of failing to address complaints against Caballero. The management company said in a statement in October that “all employees are vetted using a national background check service” and that Caballero had “no record of burglary or sexual assault.”

Marcano’s family has called for stronger tenant protections and more scrutiny of prospective apartment maintenance employees.

If Miya’s Law is signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, landlords who violate the new rules could be hit with a felony or first-degree misdemeanor charge.

“I urge Gov. DeSantis to honor Miya’s name and sign this potentially lifesaving legislation into law,” Florida state Rep. Robin Bartleman, who was the lead sponsor of the house version of the bill, said in a statement.

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