The United States Senate has advanced a bill to adopt permanent Daylight Saving Time, ending what lawmakers described as the “pointless” procedure of changing the clocks twice a year.
The Sunshine Protection Act, as it’s known, received rare bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. “Just this past weekend, we all went through that biannual ritual of changing the clock back and forth and the disruption that comes with it,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the Republican who sponsored the bill, said on the Senate floor. “One has to ask themselves, why do we keep doing this?”
“Pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose time has come.”
Rubio said that he believed a majority of Americans want to do away with the time switch and would prefer an extra hour of daylight, especially during the winter months. The Senate agreed under a process known as unanimous consent.
The bill, which would end the practice of changing the clocks in November 2023, still has to pass the House of Representatives. If passed into law, the bill would not take effect until 2023, giving airlines and other businesses time to react. A question about President Joe Biden’s views on daylight saving time was not answered by a White House spokeswoman.
On Tuesday, the bill passed the Senate two days after the United States began Daylight Saving Time, with clocks around the country springing forward an hour on Sunday evening.
Intended to create later evenings in summer and brighter mornings in winter, critics have long maintained that the twice-annual changing of clocks is a relic of the past that causes disruption to sleep and work schedules.
“It has real repercussions on our economy and our daily lives,” Senator Ed Markey is another strong supporter.
According to polling, 71% of Americans would prefer not to change their clocks twice a year.
Last week, a team of experts testified before the House of Representatives about the health, energy, and economic consequences of changing the clocks twice a year. While lawmakers on the panel couldn’t decide which time to switch to permanently, they all agreed that the United States should stick to one or the other.
It turns out that Florida legislators are on the same page when it comes to daylight saving time. The bill’s House equivalent, H.R. 69, was filed by Florida Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan. He said on Twitter that he is writing a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, requesting that his bill be brought to the floor for a vote right away.
States have moved to pass or enact measures in favor of year-round daylight saving time, but without congressional approval, they can’t adopt those changes.
Representative Frank Pallone, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is one of the proponents of the proposal, claiming that the loss of sleep caused by changing clocks is unjustifiable. “seems to impact us for days afterwards” and “can cause havoc on the sleeping patterns of our kids and our pets.”
This isn’t the first time the US has decided to keep daylight saving time indefinitely. Congress approved on Dec. 14, 1973, to switch the United States to daylight saving time for two years. According to the New York Times, whereas 79 percent of Americans approved of the shift in December of that year, it had dropped to 42 percent within three months.
The main source of concern was children walking to school in the dark, which quickly became dangerous as more children were hit by early-morning automobiles.
Daylight saving time was used as an energy-saving measure during numerous periods in American history, including World War I and World War II, and has remained in place since the 1970s energy crisis.
Congress enacted a measure to restore standard time shortly after President Richard Nixon resigned, and President Gerald Ford signed it.