SEBRING — With everything that’s happened in 2020, you probably haven’t thought about Daylight Saving Time.
It may seem like 100 years since it started on March 8. When it ends, 2 a.m. Nov. 1, still seems like a year away.
It’s the Sunday before Election Day.
Falling back into standard time usually means catching an extra hour of sleep and resetting all your clocks. But if Florida’s two U.S. Senators and almost 200,000 of its citizens get their wishes heard, you might not have to worry about losing sleep or changing your clocks — ever again.
Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott have renewed a push to make Daylight Saving Time (DST) the standard time for Florida from here on out.
Scott already changed it once.
When did we ‘change’?
The proposal passed the Legislature two years ago. Scott, while serving as governor in 2018, signed legislation aimed at putting Florida on year-round DST.
Without approval from Congress, it died.
The “Sunshine Protection Act,” also called House Bill 1013, was co-sponsored by Rep. Jeanette M. Nuñez, R-Miami (now Lt. Governor), and Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers.
They noted that Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and most of Arizona do not observe DST and remain on the accepted standard time year-round.
The “Sunshine Protection Act” would have taken effect July 1, 2018, but Congress would have had to amend its laws for a state to “spring ahead” and then remain on that time.
Congress did not.
That same year, California residents approved Proposition 7, a ballot resolution aimed at making DST the state’s year-round time, by a 60% vote.
California must also wait on Congressional approval and is pushing for that.
Why choose DST?
Florida organizers of a petition that has garnered over 194,000 signatures and counting, in just a few days, have reported that the loss of an hour of sleep and the upset of people’s internal clocks every spring results in multiple health risks, including heart attacks, motor vehicle wrecks and workplace injuries.
In Florida, according to reports from the News Service of Florida, year-round DST has support as a way to help the tourism industry, as people could stay out later and spend more in an early “night life” under additional sunlight.
This time, Rubio and Scott have also centered their push around COVID-19.
“After months of staying inside amid the coronavirus pandemic, families across the nation could use a little more sunshine and time to enjoy all that Florida has to offer,” Scott said in a press release on Wednesday.
To move their new proposal forward, News Service reports, Rubio plans to use a procedure that skips the Senate Commerce Committee and places the measure directly on the Senate Calendar.
How did we get here?
Thank American inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin. He proposed DST in 1784, but it took more than 100 years before Germany, in 1916, became first to implement the clock-forward strategy, to save fuel.
The U.S. adopted year-round DST as a fuel-cost-saving measure for four years during World War II. The British, who commonly call it “British summer time,” turned clocks two hours ahead during World War II.
To alleviate confusion with various time changes across the nation, especially in transportation schedules, Congress approved the Uniform Time Act of 1966 to set DST from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.
The oil embargo of 1973 prompted an extension of DST in 1974 and 1975.
Most recently, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended DST a full month to the current “spring ahead” on the second Sunday in March, ending with a “fall back” on the first Sunday in November.
Both Highlands News-Sun Staff Writer Marc Valero and the News Service of Florida contributed to this story.