Bill filed by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, heads to Gov. Rick Scott. But the U.S. Congress has to approve it.
TALLAHASSEE — Florida lawmakers have a message for Congress: The Sunshine State wants the sun to shine later in the day.
A bill aimed at keeping Florida in daylight saving time year-round cleared the Florida Legislature on Tuesday and heads to Gov. Rick Scott for approval.
Sarasota state Sen. Greg Steube filed the legislation after hearing from his barber about how annoying it is to switch between standard time and daylight saving time. The barber has young children and was having trouble getting them up for school after adjusting the clocks by an hour.
Steube’s bill asks Congress to pass legislation permitting Florida to stay in daylight saving time all year. Federal law currently allows states to opt out of daylight saving time and stay in standard time, but does not allow year-round daylight saving time.
“It just doesn’t make sense to do it,” Steube said of the requirement that everyone move their clocks an hour forward in the spring and an hour backward in the fall. “Hopefully Congress will let states opt into daylight saving time and standard time.”
Staying in daylight saving time year-round would mean later sunsets in the fall and winter and more opportunities for outdoor recreation. One lawmaker summarized the impact as “lighter, later, longer.”
Steube said he has heard from tourism businesses that would benefit from having more evening daylight time for people to shop. He also has heard from mayors across the state who say the bill would save money by not having to use as much outdoor lighting at municipal athletic fields.
The only opposition, Steube said, has come from those who worry about not having Florida’s clocks in sync with other East Coast states. One way to solve that: Institute year-round daylight saving time nationwide, Steube said.
“I’d make it the whole country,” he said. “So we’d just do away with moving the clocks.”
The daylight saving time bill passed the Senate 33-2 Tuesday. It already had cleared the House.
Steube may have an opportunity to continue pushing the issue. He is running for Congress this year.