Governor Rick Scott recently signed legislation that could put Florida on permanent Daylight Savings Time. The Florida Chamber of Commerce developed this memo which explains what happens next and the potential outcomes for this legislation.
Florida Chamber Members and Friends
Christopher Emmanuel, Policy Director
Mark Wilson, President and CEO
March 27, 2018
Florida Daylight Savings Time Legislation - the Long and Uncertain Path Forward
Since the recent passage of legislation dealing with a potential change to Florida’s Daylight Savings Time (DST) approach, the Florida Chamber has received numerous inquiries regarding what the legislation does, and what the actual implementation process looks like. This member benefit memo is designed to help bring members and their employees up to date on DST legislation that was recently signed into law by Governor Scott, and its uncertain path forward.
It is important to note that time zones and Daylight Savings Time are set by federal law. Neither the Florida Legislature nor the Governor have the authority to change the state’s participation in DST without changes in federal law. Here’s the key takeaway: despite all the rhetoric, changes are not imminent and are, in fact, very unlikely to occur anytime soon.
2018 Florida Legislative Session Action
During the 2018 Legislative Session, the Florida Legislature passed HB 1013 relating to Daylight Savings Time by a vote of 103Y-11N in the House and 33Y-2N in the Senate. The full text of that bill can be found here.
House Bill 1013 expresses a future intent of the legislature to act if Congress acts on DST: “If the United States Congress amends 15 U.S.C. s. 260a to authorize states to observe daylight saving time year-round, it is the intent of the Legislature that daylight savings time shall be the year-round standard time of the entire state."
As outlined below, this merely expresses the intent of the Florida Legislature and has no practical effect nor does it bind future legislatures or governors to this policy. Governor Scott signed HB 1013 on March 23, 2018.
HB 1013 has an effective date of July 1, 2018. Even after that effective date, there will be no changes to time zones or required actions by the state of Florida. The bill does not authorize or mandate any actions by the Governor or other public officials. The 2018 legislature merely had their intent codified in law.
Future Legislatures are NOT bound to Act by HB 1013
A legislature "may not bind the hands of future legislatures." Neu v. Miami Herald Pub. Co., 462 So. 2d 821, 824 (Fla. 1985). See also Straughn v. Camp, 293 So. 2d 689, 694 (Fla. 1974). This law clearly expresses the future intent of the legislature to act under particular circumstances. If those circumstances ever arise, then a future legislative body is free to ignore this statute.
However, there are two federal bills that warrant paying close attention to. H.R. 5279, sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan, and its companion S. 2537, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio seek to make Daylight Savings Time permanent across the country.
H.R. 5278 and S. 2536, with the same sponsors respectively, seek to exempt Florida from the nation’s DST program. Both H.R. 5278 and S. 2536 were filed the week of March 12, 2018. Both bills have yet to be scheduled or heard in committee.
From here, there are four possible options:
While there was virtually no opposition to this year’s Daylight Savings Time legislation, broadcasters and certain contractors have expressed disapproval after its nearly unanimous passage in the legislature. Some tourism and retail businesses have indicated support for the concept. Since this concept could potentially come back around to the legislature and governor after Congressional action, your opinions on the proposal, and your thoughts on how it might have a positive, negative or no consequence impact on Florida’s economy are important. Please share your thoughts by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-521-1242.
In the meantime, it’s going to be a very busy election year. Your support of the Florida Chamber’s efforts to elect pro-jobs candidates is important. Learn how you can get involved by contacting Marian Johnson at email@example.com or 850-521-1241.
Florida Chamber of Commerce l www.FloridaChamber.com
136 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301 l (850) 521-1200