The clock would run out on the annual practices of "springing forward" and "falling back" should new legislation to abolish Florida's observance of daylight saving time become law.
- Measure put forth by Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota)
- Without DST, sunrise would happen at an earlier time during warmer months
- Could draw opposition from tourism industry
Under the measure -- SB 858 by Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) -- Floridians would no longer set their clocks forward one hour in the spring. The result would be sunrise and sunset times would occur an hour earlier during the warmer months.
Far from helping to conserve energy, conservationists have found daylight saving time negatively impacts states with warmer climates - including Florida - by prompting heavy use of air conditioning at the end of the day. Businesses on 9-to-5 schedules, in particular, could realize energy cost savings from an earlier sunset.
The elimination of daylight saving time could also work in favor of early risers like Tom Arnold. The former secretary of Florida's Agency for Healthcare Administration is recently retired and, on many mornings, itching to get to the golf course.
"In the morning on summers, I have to wait a little longer to get out here, because I'm a morning person - I like going out as soon as it gets dawn," Arnold said while chipping balls at Tallahassee's Seminole Golf Course. "The way that it is now (during standard time observance), I can get out here as soon as it gets light and play and be home by noon."
But the bill stands a strong chance of drawing opposition from Florida's tourism industry. Because the sun would set an hour earlier during the period when the state currently observes daylight saving time, late-day beachgoing, after-work golf rounds and even certain theme park activities could be curtailed.
Mid-day activities could suffer as well, meteorologists warn.
"It'll get hotter earlier in the day, so those chores you may have put off until late morning, you may want to do earlier in the day, because the sun's coming up at 5:30 in June and July," Spectrum Bay News 9 Chief Meteorologist Mike Clay said.
The legislation has been filed in advance of Florida's 2018 legislative session, which begins in January. It currently lacks a House companion bill and has yet to be referred to any committees, early signs that its prospects of passage are less than favorable.