Florida legislature passed a law to do away with Daylight Saving clock changes twice a year and stay permanently on Daylight Saving Time this year. Daylight Saving is the time when it stays lighter later, which almost every Floridian loves. To have that extra hour of sunshine makes all the difference for those who want to spend some time outdoors after work or have time for activities with their kids or pets. Florida lawmakers agreed by an overwhelming majority.
The Sunshine Protection Act was proposed in two bills in the Florida state legislature. House of Representatives HB1013 and Senate State Bill 858, which was approved by the Florida Senate Community Affairs Committee in January 2018 by a vote of 6-0. The Senate bill included merging the panhandle into a single timezone with the rest of Florida. In March, the bill was passed by the Florida Senate and signed by Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott, to change the law effective July 1, 2018, keeping Florida in Daylight Savings time permanently.
This means, no more time changes for Floridians! No more setting our clocks back an hour every fall. And all of Florida moves into the same Time Zone (half of the panhandle is currently on a different timezone). But don't get too excited just yet. We still have to change our clocks this November.
Even though the law was passed by all of the Florida lawmakers, it still needs to get congressional approval before it becomes law. Federal law prohibits a state from changing time zones without a statute passed by Congress or the secretary of transportation issuing regulations. If Florida doesn’t change it’s time in the fall, it will shift from Eastern Standard Time into the Atlantic Standard Time Zone during the winter months. And since it requires Congress to amend existing federal law to allow the change, we have to wait. And with the midterms just a couple days after the November 4th time change date, we will be sticking with the current law and turning our clocks back this year.
Florida wants to do away with the time change twice a year and put all of Florida in the same Time Zone. And the bill was passed by our lawmakers. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The chances of Florida being approved alone to stay on daylight saving time are slim. Other states have tried in the past and failed, including California. Only Hawaii, Arizona, and a few U.S. territories do not observe Daylight Saving Time. But California is not giving up, along with dozens of other states that are starting the conversation to stop the time change in the U.S. It is a movement that is not only growing in the U.S., but in other nations as well. The EU has already put the law in motion allowing their member countries to choose whether to adopt permanent Daylight savings and other countries are considering changes.
This is the reason why Senator Marco Rubio put in a second request to Congress seeking congressional approval for a nationwide law to keep Daylight Saving permanent and do away with switching our clocks twice a year. Because it will be complicated for Florida to be the only state in the eastern U.S. that doesn’t set it’s clocks back. And if Florida does get approved, many other states will follow which will make the time zones crazy during the half of the year when some states are still setting their clocks back.
It makes more sense for the whole country to unite on this issue and move forward by doing away with this antiquated law that makes us change our clocks twice a year.
Let’s stay on Daylight Saving Time and keep the extra hour of sunshine in the evenings permanently.