Florida lawmakers look to do away with springing forward and falling back

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Competing bills introduced for this year's legislative session would keep the state on standard time or daylight saving time, but a compromise is
in the works moving the state to daylight saving time so that Floridians could avoid the twice a year spring ahead or fall back.

Daylight saving was enacted in Europe in 1916 as an effort to save coal during the war. A hundred years later, State Senator Greg Steube thinks it’s outlived its usefulness.

“You start talking to more and more people and it's like 75 or 80 percent of citizens in the state think it’s dumb," Steube said.

In the House, Heather Fitzenhagen is co-sponsoring legislation to keep daylight saving all year long.

“Now, the way things are when we fall back, it’s too dark when we get home to be able to go out and have the kids play or do their sports, or to grill out," said Representative Fitzenhagen.

Mother Sarah Ward has mixed feelings, but says like most people, making the change can be stressful.

“When we get to spring, it’s exhausting and it takes a good week or two before we can get back on track," she said.

A supporter is newly appointed Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis. He still lives in Panama City, which is in the Central Time Zone.

“I get both times on my calendar for every single event because sometimes I’m in a different time zone, whether I’m in Pensacola, Panama City, or Miami. Two times are challenging," Patronis said.

Steube also wants to put Florida all in one time zone; the Eastern Time Zone.

Some, including the state’s Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, think lawmakers have better things to do.

“Amongst all the things we’re dealing with, that’s never come up," said Putnam.

But sponsors believe the extra hour of daylight in the winter would be a boon to restaurants, tourists, and golf courses.

In 1974, state lawmakers spent three days in special session debating what to do with the time. In the end, they only wasted their time, doing nothing. Sponsors say this year will be different.