Bill Would Keep Florida on Daylight-Saving Time Permanently

The sun rises over Jacksonville.
The sun rises over Jacksonville.
Photo by Craig ONeal's Flickr, CC2.0

It's been more than a month since we fell back to standard time, but if you're like most, you still probably haven't gotten used to the sky getting dark so early. Well, consider state Rep. Kristin Jacobs your new hero. The Broward County Democrat has introduced a bill that would keep Florida on daylight-saving time (DST) year-round. 

Because of its southern location, Florida has less use for DST than northern states. The lengths of our days remain relatively consistent throughout the year as it is. The result, especially in the southernmost portions of the state like Miami, is that half of the year it gets dark soon after you get home from work, and during the rest of the year, you get a little more light before bedtime. 

Dubbed the Sunshine Protection Act, the bill reads, "As the 'Sunshine State,' Florida should be kept sunny year-round... daylight saving time shall be the year-round standard time of the entire state and all of its political subdivisions." 

Opposition to switching clocks twice a year is nothing new in Florida. 

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In 2008, state Sen. Bill Posey pushed a bill that would have eliminated DST in Florida and kept it on standard time instead. It made some headway in the state Senate, but ultimately lawmakers decided they liked that extra hour of sunlight in the afternoon during the summer months. 

In 2014, Sen. Darren Soto, a Central Florida Democrat, introduced a bill similar to the one Jacobs has now introduced. It would have kept Florida on DST year-round. The bill ended up dying in committee. 

Individual states have the power to decide whether they went to follow DST. However, Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that don't follow the practice. Subtropical territories including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas also ignore DST. 

If the bill passed, Florida would be the only state that used DST year-round. 

Though an extra hour of sunlight during the evening may be nice — and attractive to tourists — a shift would mean that Florida would be out of sync with the rest of the East Coast for about five months of the year.


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