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Florida Says Yes to Year-Round Daylight Saving Time

Florida wants year-round Daylight Saving Time (DST), and is asking Congress to make it happen.

Clock on Worth Avenue, Palm Beach, Florida.

Clock on Worth Avenue, Palm Beach, Florida.

©iStockphoto.com/Sean Pavone

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed off on the bill dubbed the “Sunshine Protection Act” on Friday, sending it to Congress. If approved, Daylight Saving Time (DST) will be permanent in the Sunshine State, eliminating the semi-annual practice.

Federal Government

The Daylight Saving Time Bill has been steadily moving up Florida's state legislature since November. House Bill 1013 states “(...) it is the intent of the Legislature that daylight saving time shall be the year-round standard time of the entire state and all of its political subdivisions”.

The Bill will take effect on July 1, 2018 if Congress approves on the federal level.

New Standard Time Zones

Year-round DST would shift standard time in Florida 1 hour forward, effectively changing the state's time zones.

Today, Florida observes Central Standard Time (CST) and Eastern Standard Time (EST), but adding 1 hour would move the time zones to Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Atlantic Standard Time (AST).

Darker Mornings, Brighter Afternoons

Keeping Daylight Saving Time all year will move sunrise and sunset times in Florida about 1 hour later in the day resulting in darker mornings, but also more daylight in the afternoon.

Proponents argue that sunlight later in the afternoon gets people out and benefits tourism. However, later sunrises can mean that children have to walk to school in the dark. Also, critics say Florida would be out of sync with the rest of the country.

A Massachusetts special commission studied the effects of moving the state's time zone permanently to AST and concluded that the time zone change would be beneficial for the population.

DST in the US

In the US, clocks are set back 1 hour from 02:00 (2 am) to 01:00 (1 am) local time on the first Sunday in November. Clocks spring forward again from 02:00 (2 am) to 03:00 (3 am) local time the second Sunday in March.

Almost all of the United States observes DST. Hawaii and most of Arizona are the only 2 US states that do not change their clocks.

None of the US dependencies observe DST. These include American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Minor Outlying Islands, and the US Virgin Islands.