Mark my words … special daylight saving time edition.
I understand the appeal of making the day last as long as possible. I mean, I wrote a book with a title — “Lassoing the Sun” (still available at a bookstore near you) — that comes from the story of a national park in Hawaii where, according to native mythology, the sun lingers.
The lore of Haleakala is that after the goddess Hina said the days were too short, her son Maui decided to do something about it. He crept to the rim of the volcano before dawn. When the sun passed overhead, Maui lassoed it and, before letting it go, made the sun promise to forever slow down when passing overhead.
The Florida Legislature has decided to play Maui, passing the “Sunshine Protection Act” to keep the state on daylight saving time forever.
It still has to clear a few more hurdles. Even if Gov. Rick Scott signs it, Congress has to approve it.
Who wouldn’t be excited about this?
Someone who has to wake up a child for school. Someone who doesn’t want to stay up until 1 a.m. to see the end of a football game. Someone who initially thought the “Sunshine Protection Act” sounded great — no more changing all those clocks! — but then realized it won't be all sunshine and rainbows.
State Senator Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, sponsored the bill, saying it will be good for tourism and the economy.
“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,” Steube said, according to the Miami Herald. “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.’ ”
Here’s what is even harder: Waking up a teenager when the sun doesn’t come up until nearly 8:30.
A couple of months ago, in mid-January, the sun was rising at 7:24 a.m. If we go to daylight saving time year-round, that sunrise will be an hour later. Kids won’t just be waiting for buses in the dark. They’ll be sitting in their first class before the sun comes up.
On New Year’s Eve, the Times Square ball still will drop at midnight in New York — but, even though we’d still be on Eastern Time, that would be 1 a.m. in Florida.
Remember that thrilling college football title game?
Alabama and Georgia kicked off at 8:17 p.m. in Atlanta (which would have been 9:17 p.m. in Florida). When regulation ended in a tie, it was midnight in Atlanta (make that 1 a.m. in Florida). And when Alabama won in overtime, the time would have been 1:10 a.m. in Florida — which won’t be all that unusual if the Sunshine Protection Act goes into effect.
The federal Uniform Time Act of 1966 allows states to exempt themselves from observing daylight saving time. Arizona and Hawaii chose to do that. But the act doesn’t allow what Florida wants to do — exempt itself from standard time. Congress has to do that.
My 20-something self, which routinely stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, would be shocked to hear me say this: I don’t want year-round daylight savings time.
As much as I hate turning back the clocks and losing that hour of daylight in the evening, I don’t want to lose the morning light in winter. And while we’re on this topic, I love long summer days, but that's the time of year in Florida when having the sun set earlier might be nice. More time to enjoy summer nights.
So if it were up to me, if I couldn’t lasso the sun but could play lawmaker, maybe I’d want to do like Hawaii and stay on standard time all year long.
DRILL, MAYBE, DRILL: The public comment period about offshore drilling ended last week. Now things will get really interesting.
When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced plans to open as much as 90 percent of America’s offshore waters to drilling, it was met with strong opposition from all but a few coastal states. Within days, Zinke announced that he had met with Gov. Scott and Florida was off the table.
“Local voices count,” Zinke said.
The head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Interior agency that manages offshore leases, later said the decision was not final. Beyond that, a vast bi-partisan chorus of “local voices” — 15 governors from coastal states, 150 East Coast municipalities, an alliance of more than 41,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families — has asked for the same deal as Florida.
“Every city and town council along the South Carolina coastline has voted to oppose seismic testing and drilling, and I agree with them,” South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said.
“New York doesn’t want drilling off our coast either. Where do we sign up for a waiver, @secretaryzinke?” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
“Don’t touch California,” former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said. “If you want to drill, do it off Mar-a-Lago.”
TAXES R US: The website for the Duval County Property Appraiser’s office opens with a note from Jerry Holland that says, “We are here to assist you with commercial, residential, tangible personal property and exemption questions.”
Holland’s staff handles all kinds of questions. But this week they got a first. Someone called to ask if they could appraise her Beanie Babies.
The answer is no. But if Honey the Bunny has a homestead question …