Florida Governor, Rick Scott, signed the “Sunshine Protection Act,” into law on Friday. The act could allow the state to remain in Daylight Saving Time year round. But Scott’s go-ahead won’t mean a thing unless Congress agrees to change a federal law, the Uniform Time Act of 1966.
Scott said the new law is aimed at boosting tourism and helping residents and visitors, “enjoy everything our beautiful state has to offer later in the day.”
Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla) has taken the motion one step further by proposing that the entire country makes Daylight Saving Time permanent.
Rubio argued that federal approval of the “Sunshine Act” would help not only Florida, but the country’s agricultural economy, reduce traffic crashes, and boost health and fitness activities since there would be more sunlight and better visibility in the evening hours.
Hawaii and most of Arizona are already exempt from the Uniform Time Act. If Florida also receives exemption, residents would no longer “fall back” in the in the fall. The results would be a later sunrise and longer, brighter evenings from November to March.
Not everyone is a fan of the act. Many have voiced concerns about Florida being out of sync with the rest of the country. The Florida PTA opposed the bill due to the fact that children could be waiting for school buses or walking to school in the dark.
The “Sunshine Protection Act” was one of 74 bills Scott signed into law on March 23.
How could the ‘Sunshine Act’ benefit the Sunshine State? Senate to review Monday
February 26, 2018
What could possibly make the Sunshine State any better? More Sunshine, of course! Some members of Florida’s state House of Representatives believe they found a way to maximize the sun-soaking hours by passing a daylight saving time bill known as the Sunshine Protection Act, or simply the “Sunshine Act.” While it obviously can not create additional sunshine, it can adjust the clocks in order to say when Floridians may enjoy those daylight hours.
The bid that passed in the state House must get final approval from Congress.
Essentially, the Sunshine Protection Act proposes that the state advances the clocks one hour, which would make those spectacular east-coast Florida sunrises later and subsequently delay the gorgeous sunsets by – you guessed it – one hour.
The move would place Florida in the Atlantic Standard Time Zone for about 9 months of the year. The rest of the east coast states would lag one hour behind.
But is getting daylight an hour later beneficial?
Some, including Sunshine Act co-sponsor state Representative Heather Fitzenhagen, believe the time bump will boost the state’s tourism industry and allow residents to enjoy more of the outdoor lifestyle and recreational activities.
“We are the Sunshine State so we want to have more sunshine,”
The “more sunshine” argument doesn’t scientifically add up, but Fitzenhagen is referring to more usable hours of sunshine.
There is a mixed reception for the proposal. Many along the coastlines seem to favor the time switch. Restaurants generally like the idea of a later sunset and the possible increase in evening traffic.
Golf enthusiasts who usually favor the early morning tee times aren’t so sure. For instance, Monday morning’s sunrise of 6:46 a.m. would be delayed until 7:46 a.m., leaving a 7 a.m. tee time in the dark.
Television networks are also concerned that shifting time zones would adversely affect the way they deliver programming, namely news.
Those currently airing an 11 o’clock nightly news would have to offer it at midnight, since primetime network programming would begin running at 9 p.m. instead of the conventionally-favored 8 p.m. timeslot.
Morning shows which appear live or via syndication would also be forced to shuffle or perhaps be one day behind the rest of the eastern states.
All of the “what if’s” won’t technically matter unless Congress steps in to amend Federal law which does not allow a state to dive into daylight saving time outside of the current March to November period. Individual states are allowed to opt out of the daylight saving time clock changes two times per year, but only if they adjust to standard time.
The Senate Rules committee is scheduled to review the Sunshine Act at 2:30 p.m. on Monday.
We will continue to follow this story.