This photo provided by Orange County Sheriff’s Office shows Miya Marcano in Orlando, Fla. A crowd of more than 50 prayed on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 evening for the safe return of Miya Marcano. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office says she disappeared Friday shortly after 27-year-old maintenance worker Armando Caballero was seen letting himself into her apartment with a master key. (Orange County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

The death of an Orlando teen may lead to improved apartment safety in the Sunshine State. Lawmakers Friday morning filed Miya’s Law, which was prompted by the killing of 19-year-old Miya Marcano earlier this year.

Police believe a maintenance worker attacked and killed Marcano at her home in September. They said he was able to gain access with a master key — despite having a criminal background.

Lawmakers have filed Miya’s Law, which was prompted by the killing of 19-year-old Miya Marcano earlier this year.

Family and friends have since formed the Miya Marcano Foundation. Their goal has been, in part, to push for change and seek more stringent apartment security standards to prevent a future tragedy.

“We have put together what I consider to be a really good bipartisan bill,” said Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, who filed SB 898.

Rep. Robin Bartleman, D-Weston, plans to file a companion measure in the House in the coming days.

If approved, Miya’s Law would make several changes:

  • Require apartments to do background checks on all employees using national databases
  • Landlords would be able to disqualify those convicted of violent or sexual crimes for employment
  • Require apartments to create and maintain logs for keys and increase unit entry notices from 12 to 24 hours

“I can’t always be 100% that we’re going to catch everything that goes on,” Stewart said. “But, I think that had all of these things been in place, we might have had a chance to catch what was happening here in central Florida and what happened to Miya.”

Stewart said the legislation already had some Republican support and the approval of key stakeholders like the Florida Apartment Association.

In a statement, the FAA said the bill “would codify industry best practices related to employee background screening and apartment access protocols.”

Marcano’s parents and the members of the Marcano Foundation also spoke with Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez on Friday. They urged the administration to back the bill as well.

“I got a sense that she’s definitely supportive of, you know, seeing things come into place to keep residents safe and secure,” said Foundation Board Member Jodi Lewis. “We really think that this is a no-brainer because it affects all of us in some way, shape or form.”

The Legislature will get its say when members return for the regular session in January.