Thursday, January 25, 2018

The (More) Sunshine State

Via the Tampa Bay Times:

Florida lawmakers in the Sunshine State want to legislate more working, learning and playing time in the sunshine.

Two bills, called the “Sunshine Protection Act,” would ask Congress to give the state permission to make Daylight Saving Time permanent year-round. The proposals, SB 858 and HB 1013, each passed their first Senate and House committees unanimously this week.

If Congress agrees, Florida would join two other states that have exempted themselves from the 1966 law that set a uniform time for all time zones across the country. Hawaii and most of Arizona are on Standard Time year-round.

Under federal law, the U.S. Department of Transportation is charged with setting time zones but allows states to exempt themselves from Daylight Saving Times, if Congress approves. Daylight Saving Time (when you set your clocks ahead one hour) runs from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

The practical impact of that change would mean that on the Winter Solstice — that’s the day in the Northern Hemisphere with the least amount of daylight — sunrise in Florida would be at about 8 a.m. and sunset would be at about 6:30 p.m. instead of 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. like it is now.

The Senate version of the bill also moves the western part of the state, which is in Central Time, into the Eastern Time zone, if Congress approves.

That would mean that during the winter, Florida would be on Atlantic Standard Time along with Puerto Rico and a lot of the Lesser Antilles.  But it would also have the practical effect of saving many people from the confusion of how to change their clocks twice a year.