What’s the status of year-round Daylight Savings Time in Fla.?
PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Sept. 25, 2018 – Twice a year, every year, like clockwork if you will, time jumps ahead, then behind an hour for Daylight Savings Time.
Except in Florida, where it doesn't.
Or, it shouldn't, anyways. That was the plan when the Florida Legislature overwhelmingly passed the cutely named "Sunshine Protection Act" by a margin of 103 to 11 in the House and 33 to 2 in the Senate, making the Sunshine State the only state to adopt Daylight Savings Time (as opposed to Standard Time) year-round, eliminating the time switch and clock changes. The bill went to Gov. Rick Scott's desk in March and was signed into law.
But it's September now, and getting close to that time when we have to set our clocks back an hour and plunge ourselves into darkness at 5 p.m. for the winter and no one has said anything to the contrary.
Curious about where the daylight dilemma stood, reader Bill Ethridge wrote in to our Bay Asked, We Answered series asking, "What is going on with year-round Daylight Savings Time?" We put the question in a voting round, where it was so popular it won 86 of the 106 total votes.
"I was just curious," he said when asked what prompted the question. "I grew up in the Eastern Time Zone in Southwest Georgia and just like the longer days."
We reached out to Rep. Jay Trumbull, who represents Bay County in the Florida House to ask him what happened to the bill. As is so often the case, he said, they're waiting on Washington for the official go-ahead.
"From the state of Florida perspective, we've done everything we can do," he said. "Now the bill goes to Congress and we have a House member and a Senator introduce the same legislation on a federal level."
That, Trumbull said, is where the hangup is.
"It's been introduced," Trumbull said. "Senator Marco Rubio has the bill and it's in the Commerce Committee. It has been read multiple times, but there's been no votes."
"We are just waiting on them to make a move," he added.
Time, it seems, is also not on the side of the Daylight Savings Time Bill's side. If it doesn't pass by the Congressional midterm elections in November, Trumbull said the bill will need to be re-introduced into Congress next year. The state, Trumbull said, will not need to re-pass their version of the bill.
Trumbull supported the bill when it was voted on, saying it gives people more time to be outdoors after work in the winter and it's better for tourism, when tourists have more light in the evening to be out shopping or out at the beach.
"What we have seen is for areas that don't honor that change, that employees are happier, that there seems to be more production out of people," he said. "It's an all-around good thing for the economy in general."
While the Daylight Savings Time time switching is a bit of a hassle, can be confusing and can disrupt everything from travel to time-clocks, having one state on Daylight Savings Time and the other 49 states on Standard Time, could be a bigger one, especially in a state already split between two time zones.
For a quarter of the year, the Florida counties in Eastern Standard Time will be an hour ahead of the rest of the EST and travel hubs like Atlanta, New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston, while the Panhandle will, for those four months, be on the same time as the EST and an hour ahead of their Central Time Zone counterparts.
For events like New Year's Eve, that means watching the ball drop at the much-less-special 1 a.m. for the EST part of the state. It also means "all kinds of havoc" as Sen. Bill Nelson told the Sun-Sentinel in March, on flights. Not to mention prime-time TV schedules.
When introducing the Florida bill, Rubio also introduced a bill to put the whole country on Daylight Savings Time, a bid that has similarly stalled.
Only Alaska and Arizona do not observe Daylight Savings Time.
Copyright © 2018 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.), Eryn Dion. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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