Select Page

By: Michael Bates | Citrus County Chronicle

Many folks hate having to turn their clocks back each November because it gets dark way too early.

They instead would love to see a continuation of daylight saving time.

State Rep. Jeanette Nunez, R-Miami, agrees and has proposed a bill that calls for Florida to observe daylight saving time throughout the year. The measure is called the “Sunshine Protection Act.” The trade­off is that it would remain dark most mornings when people wake up.

But Nunez does not have time completely on her side because her “sunny year-round” bill could clash with another bill filed by state Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, that would lead to the state exempting itself from daylight saving time and observing standard time.

The bills are filed for consideration during the 2018 legislative session, which starts Jan. 9. Daylight saving time this year started March 12 and ended Nov. 5. Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that do not observe daylight saving time.

So where do Citrus County’s legislators stand on the matter?

Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, said he doesn’t have an opinion one way or another. He’s heard the argument that tourism officials want to preserve the sunshine as long as possible each day so people can stay longer at the beach or patronize businesses. Agriculture officials tend to like the daylight to tend to their crops. Although, in the winter, most crops go dormant so that argument is not as convincing, he said.

But one of the bigger problems of going year-round with daylight saving time is that it would place Florida as the only state on the eastern seaboard with an hour’s difference almost half the year. That would raise havoc with banking and the travel industry, Simpson said.

“We will look forward to hearing the pros and cons,” Simpson said.

That’s assuming the bills even get to the debate stage. So many of these proposed bills never get to committee and die on the vine.

Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, said he likes the idea of not having to change clocks every year. And he would opt for daylight saving year-round if he had the choice. However, the only drawback would be that many students would be leaving for school in the dark.

“That’s the only concern I have,” Massullo said. “That’s why I haven’t made up my mind and I want to hear the debates.”

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-5660 or mbates@chronicleonline.com.

Article last accessed here on March 2, 2018.