Drive to put panhandle in Eastern time zone scrapped
On Monday, state lawmakers scrapped a provision that would move the panhandle into the Eastern time zone.
The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee voted 6 - 0 in favor of a newly-revised Senate bill that would put Florida on daylight savings time year round.
However, just before the vote, the bill's sponsor, Greg Steube, removed a provision in the bill that would move the entire state into the Eastern time zone.
Lawmakers said they made the change because folks in Northwest Florida are adamantly against switching time zones.
The change makes the Senate bill identical to the House Bill, which is slated to go before the full House Wednesday.
If approved by state lawmakers, it would still need Congressional approval.
The Florida Senate released the following statement on Monday:
Calling it another case of a solution in search of a problem, Senator George Gainer (R-Panama City) along with fellow legislators Representative Brad Drake (R-Eucheeanna), Representative Jay Trumbull (R-Panama City), Representative Mel Ponder (R-Destin), Representative Jayer Williamson (R-Pace), Senator Doug Broxson (R-Pensacola) and Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) worked to remove language from legislation requiring Northwest Florida to drop the Central Time Zone and move into the Eastern Time Zone. That effort was killed today when Senate bill 858 was amended to keep Florida’s geographic time zones just as they are now.
“This proposal was made without any input from the residents of Northwest Florida, those who would have been directly impacted,” said Senator Gainer. “Without first a vote in Northwest Florida I was adamantly opposed to this effort. So instead the Northwest Florida delegation convinced the Senate bill sponsor to remove the language. The people of Northwest Florida can rest assured that their time zone will not change until they vote to change it.”
Ten Florida counties currently reside within the Central Time Zone, while Florida’s remaining 57 counties are in the Eastern Time Zone with the dividing line being the Apalachicola River.