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Daylight Saving Time Returns This Weekend. Should It Stay Year-Round?

lilacs next to a wooden alarm clock
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Love it or hate it, Daylight Saving Time will be back this weekend.  It's a time when we can all look forward to the bleary-eyed week after we "spring forward" again. 

It's a longtime practice that the Florida Legislature was trying to do away with by passing the Sunshine Protection Act to make Daylight Saving Time permanent year-round in 2018.

Rep. Vern Buchanan and Senator Marco Rubio introduced bills in their respective houses of Congress in 2019 to allow that state law to take effect. It requires congressional approval to do so. And according to Buchanan's spokeswoman, Chloe Conboy, it would involve repealing a portion of the Uniform Time Act of 1966. She said Congressman Buchanan is confident it will pass.  

But according to Stetson Law professor Louis Virelli, despite the fact that every committee in the Senate is majority Republican right now, time and circumstance may not be working in the bill's favor. 

"The impeachment trial, I'm certain slowed things down and the election year is going to draw attention to different priorities. So oftentimes the difficulty in getting a piece of legislation passed is not about the substance of the legislation, specifically, it's about prioritizing and timing," Varelli said. 

And in this election year, when lawmakers are trying to demonstrate the importance of what they are doing to the voters, "so their decisions are going to be incentivized and influenced by the pressing issues of the day and I'm not certain, but I would doubt that Daylight Saving right now qualifies as that sort of a pressing issue," he said. 

WUSF's nonscientific poll on whether Floridians are actually in favor of making Daylight Saving permanent all year long brought out a number of responses. Of the 104 people who responded to the question of whether DST should be made permanent year-round in Florida, 67% voted in favor of it. 

But that's not the whole story. Many people commenting on WUSF's Facebook page and at wusfnews.org said Florida should have standard time year-round instead.

Bronwyn Tulloch posted "Standard Time all year!" in response to our Facebook post on the subject.

And veteran Manatee County school teacher Kathryn Houston echoed that sentiment in support of year-round standard time via email,"No time changes. I am primarily concerned about it being too dark in the morning when kids are going to school. Also the changing of the time is not good for students learning, they need consistency. Retired folks can deal with it. Kids can’t." 

Architect Stephanie Ferrell of Tampa said, "If it's light out, I'm happy to get out of bed and start my day if it's dark, and I have an appointment that requires me to to get started earlier, it's uncomfortable for me. So I definitely if I had my druthers I'd have standard time all year." She said her second choice would be to maintain the status quo. 

Mark Foster works for the TSA. He didn't experience time changes until he came to the States as a child, from Bermuda. As a shift worker, he said he would prefer to have Daylight Saving Time year-round. And he said, more daylight at the end of the day would make it easier for him to work on his house. But he would also welcome standard time year-round, to avoid having to change the clocks. 

Karen Lee has her own business doing paralegal work from home in South Tampa. She said even now, it's hard to schedule times to communicate with her customers in New York and California. 

"Personally, I'd prefer more daylight at the end of the day. But I would even more prefer that we have some conformity if at all possible, some unanimity and I know that that is up to individual states or different factors that I can't control and the federal government can't control it.  But I just would like to keep things a little less confusing if at all possible," Lee said.