We Asked You About Florida’s New Law To Stop Turning Clocks Back. Turns Out You Have A Lot To Say

Apr 16, 2018

When the clock changes every November, Stan Kaymin has to wear a headlamp to deliver mail in the late afternoon. 

If Florida didn’t change its clocks twice a year, he’d be happier: no more headgear. 

In the most rural parts of his South Dade delivery route, it's just his headlamp and the lights from his truck while he delivers mail. 

“I’m a postman and if you’ve ever noticed, some evenings you see a mail truck going around and it’s after dark and they’re trying to deliver the mail. It can be a little difficult and risky and hazardous for children out playing,” he said. “You can’t see in the dark.” Daylight Saving Time runs from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.  

Kaymin wants more daylight and Florida’s Sunshine Protection Act aims to give him just that: It would put an end to the bi-annual “spring forward, fall back” changing of clocks. 

The state Legislature passed it this year and Gov. Rick Scott signed the act into law in an effort that could keep Florida on Daylight Saving Time year round. 

Congress has been tinkering with time since the passing of Daylight Saving Time in 1918.

In 1966, the federal government created a law that set a uniform time for all time zones across the country. Then in 1974, President Richard Nixon extended daylight saving for the entire year. It was meant to be a single event during the energy crisis - a two-year experiment.

But people around the country didn’t like it. 

A year into the test run, Florida’s then-governor and congressional leaders began fighting back. The state blamed morning darkness for traffic crashes that killed six students. 

The last time Daylight Saving Time was changed was in 2007 when Congress extended it to what we have today.

Now, Florida wants to stay on Daylight Saving Time year round. The law Gov. Scott signed earlier this month is conditional. Congress would need to amend existing federal law to allow the change.

If that were to happen, Florida would be the only state on the eastern seaboard that wouldn’t fall back come November. That would mean the sun would rise after 8:30 a.m. in some parts of Florida, according to David Prerau, the author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time,” in an interview with WLRN’s Christine DiMattei

But there are other effects.

“One thing is that if Florida changed, it put it us out of sync with everyone else [during winter] and there’s a lot of negatives to that,” he said.

Read more: Is Year-Round Daylight Saving Time For Florida A Good Idea?

For Oakland Park resident Travis Macdonald, a financial advisor who works mostly in Broward County, that’s the worst trade-off. Especially because being in sync with New York and that market is a big part of the business he’s in. He has clients on the east and west coasts of the U.S.

“During those times of the year in the winter months, we’re going to be four hours different in California,” MacDonald said. “Three hours difference is already a stretch.”

That’s if Congress approves it. 

If that happens, Florida will join the two other states — Arizona and Hawaii — that already have exempted themselves. They’re on Standard time year round. A handful of U.S. territories — Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands — also do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

Delray Beach resident Shelley Crawford wants Congress to allow the change, but doesn’t think it’ll happen. 

“It won’t work,” Crawford said. But if somehow, someway it did, she thinks the effort should expand beyond Florida and be nationwide. “It just can’t be Florida. That would be extremely, extremely inconvenient.”

The change would be good for the economy, good for local businesses and especially helpful managing time with her landscaping business.

“I could get more work done,” she said. “My guys would make more money.”

And that could make a world of difference. More sunlight in the afternoon means at least another hour of work, which would total five more hours a week. If she had six men on a job, working one extra hour each a day, Monday through Friday, that would mean 30 more hours of work would get done. 

“That’s almost a week worth of work for just six people,” she pointed out over the phone. 

It’s unlikely the proposed time change is on the top of Congress’ priority list. However, there’s another option. The secretary of the Department of Transportation could create a new regulation exempting the Sunshine State from Standard Time. 

Florida isn’t the first to try to change its time zones. It follows in the footsteps of Maine and Massachusetts which both attempted to create legislation around this, with no success. 

Will it happen? Maybe. But Congress hasn’t voted to change a time zone in more than 60 years.

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