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Daylight Saving Time? Some States Could Soon Ditch It.

Florida is closest to ending the clock-changing practice, but other states have flirted with the idea.

Somewhere in Florida
Daylight saving time begins this Sunday, March 11. But lawmakers in Florida and some New England states are tired of springing forward and falling back.

States up and down the East Coast are weighing legislation to ditch the clock-switching that happens on the second Sunday in March and again on the first Sunday in November.

Florida overwhelmingly approved the bill, with the state Senate taking less than one minute to pass it, 33-2. If Gov. Rick Scott signs it, Florida would be in the same time zone as its neighbors to the north from March to November -- but an hour ahead in the winter. Scott said he will consider the proposal.

The last obstacle would be the federal government. The change would need approval from Congress, which already lets Hawaii and parts of Arizona opt out of daylight saving time (DST). Indiana actually outlawed DST in 1949 and only began observing it in 2006.

The movement to drop the clock-switching has gained some steam in recent years. Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island have all flirted with the idea. Maine’s case for bucking the biannual clock-changing is that the sun sets there before 4 p.m. between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In Florida, lawmakers say that the move would be a cost-saver.

"I've heard from mayors across the state that it's going to save them money because they don't have to light their softball fields at night," Florida state Sen. Greg Steube, the bill's sponsor, told the Tampa Bay Times. "I can't tell you how many people have come up to me who have said, even my high school age kid, it's hard to get him up in the morning when we fall back the clocks."

Daylight saving time was first officially observed by Germany during World War I as a way to conserve fuel by stretching sunlight later into the evening. The rest of Europe and the United States soon followed, but the idea was unpopular wirh citizens and was abolished in America by Congress after the war. During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt revived the idea and instituted year-round DST, known as "War Time." After the war, most states switched to observing DST in summer months, but there was no federal law on daylight saving time until 1966. 

Now some advocates want to ditch DST, essentially in favor of year-round "summer time." Early nights not only increase energy use, they also impede agriculture, especially in the Northeast, where the effects of the time change are more extreme. For that reason, New England cranberry farmers have been among the strongest advocates for getting rid of "winter hours."

"You have to quit that much sooner. You have to have everything picked up before the sun goes down," Scott Harding, an independent cranberry grower told CBS News.

The clock-moving has also been shown to correlate with negative health effects, as strokes and heart attacks increase in the days following the clock change.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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