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Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, Vern Buchanan seek year-round daylight saving again

Sunday morning could be the last time Floridians have to change their clocks.

Florida’s U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan have launched another attempt to bring daylight saving time year-round to the Sunshine State.

Spurred by the Florida Legislature’s passage last year of a daylight saving time act, the three Republicans announced Wednesday they have filed “Sunlight Protection Act” bills that would enable that on the federal level, as needed.

Rubio filed a similar bill last year.

“I was glad to sign legislation as governor to continue daylight saving time year-round for Floridians, and now join Senator Rubio to lead this effort in Congress,” Scott stated in a news release. “The Sunshine Protection Act will allow Floridians and visitors to enjoy our beautiful state even later in the day, and will benefit Florida’s tourism industry, which just celebrated another record year.”

Their measures would do more. The proposal doesn’t apply just to Florida, but to all states and that use daylight saving time, unless the states specifically exempt themselves from the measure.

Daylight saving time is set to start Sunday morning and to last until Nov. 3. If the bill is enacted and signed into law by President Donald Trump, Florida and the other states not exempted would simply remain in daylight savings time.

Sunday morning could be the last time Floridians and many other Americans would have to change their clocks.

As did the Florida Legislature, Rubio touted the proposal as an economic measure, citing a study by JP Morgan Chase Institute, which found that there is a drop in economic activity of 2.2 to 4.9 percent when clocks move back. That could be particularly true in Florida, with its tourism-driven economy.

“Studies have shown many benefits of a year-round daylight saving time, which is why Florida’s legislature overwhelmingly voted to make it permanent last year,” Rubio said. “Reflecting the will of the State of Florida, I’m proud to reintroduce this bill to also make daylight saving time permanent nationally.”

The trio also expressed expectations that a later sunset each night would reduce crime and car crashes, particularly involving pedestrians; reduce risks for cardiac issues, stroke and seasonal depression; benefit farmers; reduce energy usage; and even reduce childhood obesity and increases physical fitness, by giving children more time to play outside.

Added Buchanan, a Republican from Sarasota: “Last year, Florida lawmakers were the first in the nation to vote to make daylight saving time permanent in our home state. We should follow their lead at the national level to allow them to move forward with this change and ensure that Florida and the rest of the nation are on the same page year-round.”

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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