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Florida voted to end daylight saving time, but we’re still falling back this weekend

The state action only holds if Congress amends the U.S. code.
Dan LaMoore wheels a clock away from the test area at the Electric Time Company in Medfield, Mass., as it is prepared to be shipped to a Tennessee school. (Associated Press (2016))
Published Oct. 30

Florida has voted against changing the clocks for the end of daylight saving time but the practice will still continue this Sunday.

Floridians will join most of the nation when they turn their clocks back an hour Sunday, despite legislative momentum to end the practice.

While state lawmakers in Tallahassee approved a bill in 2018 that would allow Florida to remain on daylight saving time year-round, it only works if Congress amends U.S. code to allow it.

Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott reintroduced the so-called Sunshine Protection Act in March in an effort to end the twice annual time changes and have picked up notable cosponsors, including Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington.

Rubio renewed the push Tuesday.

“It’s my hope that Sunday, Nov. 3rd will be the last time that we have to do this ridiculous changing of the clocks back and forth,” he said in a video message. “It makes absolutely no sense, there’s no justification for it.”

For now, the only power individual states have is to opt out of daylight saving time, putting them on standard time permanently, such as what is practiced by Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Daylight saving time activists said momentum is building nationwide to change the rules and that Florida played a major role in advancing the discussion.

Scott Yates, an entrepreneur who runs a website dedicated to stopping the time changes, said many states have passed bills in support of “locking the clock.”

“But all of them have some caveat,” he said in a column on his website. “They either are waiting for nearby states to also pass bills, or they are waiting for enabling legislation from the federal government.”

Proponents of a permanent daylight saving time say it will do everything from reduce childhood obesity and crime to improve the economy.

But it would also mean some December sunrises wouldn’t happen until after 8 a.m.

That’s why the Florida PTA opposes making daylight saving time permanent. Lingering darkness in the mornings means kids at bus stops or crossing streets may be harder to see.

The first nationwide daylight saving time law was passed in 1918 as an energy-saving measure during World War I.

But it was also supported by Boston-area department store owner Lincoln Filene, who compiled a list of the benefits of daylight saving time, including that “most farm products are better when gathered with dew on.”

Farmers actually fought the change, but more daylight after work also meant more time to shop, play golf and go to baseball games — a boon for commercial interests.

In 1966, Congress approved the Uniform Time Act, which included a standard requirement on daylight-saving time. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended the length of daylight-saving time to eight months, from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. It went into effect in 2007.

This story originally published to palmbeachpost.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the GateHouse Media network via the Florida Wire. The Florida Wire, which runs across digital, print and video platforms, curates and distributes Florida-focused stories. For more Florida stories, and to support local media throughout the state of Florida, consider subscribing to your local paper.

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