Daylight Savings Bill Winning Broad Support

Politics

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY MAR 1, 2018

Can't remember whether to spring forward or fall back? Legislation proposed by state Sen. Greg Steube, R- Sarasota, seeks to settle that issue forever. Turns out every state can decide on its own rules on how to adhere to Daylight Savings Time, a practice with roots in the agrarian economy. And in an era when time typically isn’t measured from when the rooster crows, a Smart Access report in fact finds that switching between Daylight Savings Time and normal time costs the national economy $1.7 billion.  

“If you look at the history of why this was instituted 100 years ago, those reasons aren’t relevant anymore,” says Steube. While that could impact the timing of phone calls with interstate commerce, Steube says most business in Florida happens during daylight, so toying with the time each March and November makes no sense.

Steube’s bill originally sought to eliminate Daylight Savings Time altogether, but after passing its first committee vote in January with a unanimous vote by Community Affairs, the bill was amended to put the Sunshine State on Daylight Savings Time all year long; that will require some assistance from Congress. 

On Feb. 12, the bill also won approval from the Commerce and Tourism committee and Steube says he expects the bill to get heard on the Senate floor before the end of session. The bill is scheduled to be considered by the Rules committee in the Senate today.

A House version of the bill passed by a 103-11 vote in that chamber. There was some opposition there, with state Rep. Joe Geller, D-Aventura, telling the Miami Herald that the solution to business concerns regarding time changes wasn’t to stay on Daylight Savings year-round. “Just wake up earlier,” he told the paper.

And while the bill at one point called for the whole state to be put on Eastern Standard Time, Steube dropped that provision after Panhandle lawmakers objected to peninsula legislators telling them to change their clocks.

A Senate staff analysis of the bill expects little to no tax revenue impact to the state budget from the bill should it become law, though some computers will need a software patch to stop automatically adjusting the clock. Florida wouldn't be the first state to sidestep the tradition of changing the clocks; Hawaii and most of Arizona ignore Daylight Savings Time, as do many Native American nations across the country.

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