Catie Wegman Florida Today
Published 1:55 PM EDT Oct 22, 2019
If you're dreading the early hours of Nov. 3 when you have to set your clock back and watch as daylight saving time comes to an end — blame Congress.
The Florida Legislature in 2018 almost unanimously voted to hold true to the Sunshine State's name and adhere to daylight saving time year-round, bringing later sunrises and sunsets from November to March. Then-Gov. Rick Scott even signed off on the Sunshine Protection Act.
So why do we have to fall back this year?
Because federal law also needs to be amended for Florida — or any state or U.S. territory — to permanently stay on daylight saving time.Standard vs. daylight saving time
Congress first enacted a nationwide daylight saving time (DST) in 1918 as part of the Standard Time Act, and it ran from the last Sunday of March to the last Sunday in October.
Congress revisited the topic in 1966, allowing states and U.S. territories the option of maintaining standard time year-round and not participating in the time change at all.
Hawaii and Arizona are the only two U.S. states that never spring forward or fall back, having decided to stay on standard time year-round in 1967 and 1968, respectively.
Neither does the Navajo Indian Reservation, which straddles Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, nor the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, American Somoa and Northern Marina Islands.Permanent DST
The official start and end dates of DST have changed over the years, and special circumstances — such was war — have called for the observance of DST year-round, but Congress still hasn't amended the law to allow states to observe the time change as its standard.
Florida is among at least 29 states that have introduced legislation proposing some variation of permanent DST, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Four bills that would allow states to observe DST year-round, including the Sunshine Protection Act, have been introduced to the current Congress.
Editor's note: Ask Catie is an occasional feature produced by TCPalm Community Reporter Catie Wegman, who tries to find answers to your burning questions about anything and everything — the more bizarre the better. Contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Catie_Wegman and on Facebook @catiewegman1.