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Friday, January 03 2020

By: Mike Ferguson, Contributing Columnist.

As a child coming home from school, I hated how little daylight there was remaining this time of year. As an adult coming home from work, I still hate it.

As a now father of two, I still like this time of year: the weather cools down, that holiday feeling in the air, the start of a New Year. I'll spare you the spiel about bowl games and the NFL playoffs.

Being able to see the sunlight after 5:30 p.m. takes away from none of those things.

As it is quite often, Florida recently sought to be different.

Last year, then Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill into law that does away with daylight-savings time in Florida. Arizona and Hawaii are the only other states that do not currently "fall back." Unfortunately, we're now waiting for the U.S. Congress to approve the change.

In today's political climate, it isn't often that Democrats and Republicans publicly "play nice," but among Floridians, the "Sunshine Protection Act" was bipartisan. It passed the Florida House of Representatives by a 103-11 margin and the state senate by a 33-2 margin.

Among those in Washington, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, continues to push for the measure. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, who represents parts of Northeast Polk County proposed a measure as a member of the Florida House as early as 2013.

Soto and Rubio have made the case that more daylight would enhance the quality of life and be good for tourism in a state where the economy is largely dependent on it. It would also probably create safer driving conditions for those stuck in "rush hour" traffic, although some have made the counter-argument that it creates more dangerous conditions for children on their way to school.

As for me, I'd prefer just to have a little more time to play kickball or soccer outside with my daughters after work. Sure, there are things to do indoors, but it's not as easy to be active and unfortunately much easier to make a mess. I value that time much more than an "extra hour of sleep."

Despite overwhelming bipartisan support in Tallahassee and a tweet of approval from President Donald Trump, it looks like we're at the mercy of lawmakers in Washington. Rarely is that a good place to be.

About the Author: Mike Ferguson currently serves as the public information officer at the Haines City Police Department. A native of Polk County, Mike previously spent nearly five years as a full-time reporter at The Ledger. Mike contributes to a number of outlets and has work appearing in the Associated Press, Yahoo, FoxSports.com, Athlon Sports and Sports Illustrated online among other publications. Mike earned his bachelor's degree from Florida State University in 2009. Mike and his wife Jennifer live in Davenport, Florida with their two children.

What's the Sunshine Protection Act? For those who are not aware of what the Sunshine Protection Act entitles, let us explain. Senator Rubio’s Sunshine Protection Act would eliminate the changing of clocks to standard time for the months of November-March. In sum, if enacted, Florida would not “fall back” in November and would enjoy a full year of DST, instead of only eight months.

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