Florida Votes for Permanent Daylight Saving Time
Tired of setting your clocks ahead one hour? Floridians might not have to, ever again.
Florida’s Senate voted 32–2 to extend Daylight Saving Time (DST) year round, following a similar vote to extend by the Florida House, 103–11, on Feb. 14, CNN reported.
Florida lawmakers explained their actions by sharing anecdotes about the problems that “Spring Ahead” can cause.
Senate Greg Steube, a sponsor of the bill, said he overhead his constituents complaining about DST.
Senator Steube told the Senate Community Affairs Committee, “One of the barbers had young children and it had such a negative impact every time they set their clocks back [that they had trouble] getting their kids up for school,” the Miami Herald reported.
“I’ve heard from mayors across the state that it’s going to save them money because they don’t have to light their softball fields at night,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me who have said even my high school age kid, it’s hard to get him up in the morning when we fall back the clocks.”
The “Sunshine Protection Act,” is headed for the desk of Governor Rick Scott next, but even if he signs it, that won’t be enough. Congress would need to approve the change because right now DST is federal law.
Why ‘Spring Ahead’?
Daylight Savings was instituted by Germany during the First World War to save energy—probably so there would be more coal for the war effort.
The United States started its own program in March, 1918, but it only lasted until the end of the war in November the same year. The idea was universally disliked and roundly rejected.
The United States resumed Daylight Saving Time (DST) during World War II and again dropped it when the war ended. Some states kept it, and some counties in some states kept it.
The patchwork of time zones upset interstate businesses, so in 1966, the Federal government published the Uniform Time Act, which is currently overseen by the Department of Transportation.
Arizona and Michigan originally opted out, but Michigan later joined in 1972. Hawaii, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands have all sought and received exemptions.
All these regions, like Florida, are close enough to the equator that they get more than enough sunlight year round, so the problems caused by biannual adjustments outweigh any potential gain.
Downsides of DST
Daylight Saving Time was initially enacted to save energy. However, it seems to be ineffective nowadays.
A 2008 Department of Energy study found that energy saved as a result of DST is a minuscule 0.03 percent.
That same year the University of California-Santa Barbara published a study showing that DST might actually increase energy usage.
The New England Journal of Medicine published a report showing that DST might actually be harmful, because it disrupts sleep patterns.
“Major disasters, including the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger, have been linked to insufficient sleep, disrupted circadian rhythms, or both on the part of involved supervisors and staff,” the article stated.