Effort underway to make daylight savings time permanent

The Florida House of Representatives approved a bill in February to keep Florida on daylight saving time all year round.

The 103-11 vote on House Bill 1013 was led by Rep. Jeanette Nunez, R-Miami, and Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, the bll’s sponsos.

This would mean an extra hour of sunlight in the evening for those late night enthusiasts and an extra hour of darkness for those with an early bird lifestyle.

Even though the bill was approved in the House of Representatives, that’s not where it started. A similar bill was first introduced by Sen. Greg Steube. The Sarasota Republican was getting a haircut and his barber complained about how irritating it was to switch between standard time and daylight savings time. It was making it extremely difficult getting his young children up for school in the morning.

Steube filed a bill designed to end the bi-annual clock adjustment.

The state senator had no expectation that the bill would advance; it was just an idea, he said, that he tossed out to gauge public interest.

“It wasn’t my idea at all. It came from some people in my constituency and I told them I’m happy to file it,” Steube said. “And it’s kind of created a life of its own.

"It will boost the tourism industry in our state because we are going to be able to go out later and go to restaurants and enjoy recreational activities,” said Fitzenhagen when attempting to persuade her fellow colleagues. "We are the Sunshine State so we want to have more sunshine.”

For this law to come to fruition, two similar bills, SB 858 and HB 1013, must be passed in the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate.

The Senate version of the bill also calls for moving the entire state into the Eastern Time Zone. Currently, northwest Florida is in the Central Time Zone.

It would mean springing forward one last time in March, no longer turning our clocks back in November if approved by the Senate.

“It would really be amazing,” said Rudsheld Plaisir, a senior criminal justice major and FAMU ROTC Cadet. “Some mornings, I have to wake up at four and the time adjustment kills me. Not having to ever worry about it again would be a blessing.”

Twenty-six states considered making daylight savings time permanent last year, according to Time Zone, a group tracking and promoting the effort.