Floridians are up in the air about a State Bill that proposes to have daylight saving time year-round. That part of the Bill has not been near as controversial as the part that sets to put all of Florida on Eastern Standard Time. As of now, Central Standard Time begins at the Apalachicola River and extends west to cover through Panama City and Pensacola. The remainder of the state is on Eastern Standard Time.
This process is two-fold. With the amendment adopted, the bill has cleared the Senate Committee on Community Affairs. If it progresses, one act would be required to change the rules to allow states to observe daylight saving time year-round. A second act would be required to initiate a DOT (Department of Transportation) rulemaking process to allow the whole state to observe EST.
The bill is sponsored by Sarasota Republican Senator Greg Steube and said that Congress will be notified of the state’s intent should SB 858 be passed and signed into law.
Steube said businesses in the Panhandle would benefit but that is not the results of the TIMES polling of residents from Jackson County. Friday, the TIMES polled 200 residents of Jackson County with 187 against the entire state being on Eastern Time Zone, 11 supported the move, and two had no preference. Those who were polled about Daylight Saving Time year-round were 148 in favor, 39 against, and 14 had no preference.
Senator George Gainer (Rep. Panama City) spoke with the TIMES in reference to this bill, “With Daylight Savings Time, I think all will be adjusted and it will work out. As far as Eastern Standard Time, I would never agree to do that without a vote of the people who sent me to Tallahassee. The only way I would agree to that is if they tell me they want it.”
Senator Bill Montford (Dem – District 3) was on the same page as Senator Gainer, “I am opposed to the entire state being on Eastern Standard Time. The Panhandle has always been Central Standard Time and I have not had any of my staff or myself called to vote for a change and until that happens, I will oppose this bill.”