How could the ‘Sunshine Act’ benefit the Sunshine State? Senate to review Monday

Florida Sunshine Act

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.

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