The Senate unanimously passes legislation to make Daylight Saving Time permanent

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Could the clock change twice a year?

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would make daylight saving permanent and make the home what stands between longer winter days and later sunrises in summer.

The bipartisan legislation — known as the Sunshine Protection Act — was introduced in March 2019 by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). She was quickly joined by two of his Democratic colleagues, Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

When the measure was passed, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) let out an audible “Yes!” at the Senate level.

If the House of Representatives approves the measure and President Biden signs it, the legislation would not go into effect until the fall of 2023, as airlines, railroads and other mass transit operators have created schedules based on the current timekeeping system.

The US will enter standard time this November, when Americans in all states except Hawaii and non-Navajo areas in Arizona will turn their clocks back one hour. Daylight saving time started last Sunday.

In a comment published last week, Rubio and Markey advocated the daylight saving time, calling it “an inconvenience to people everywhere.”

The Senate unanimously approved the Sun Protection Act, which would destroy the biannual tradition of changing the clock.
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/FILE

“We can’t always reach a bipartisan agreement in Congress these days, but here’s one thing we can agree on: We could all use a little more sunshine,” they wrote. “That’s why we’re working together in the US Senate to make sure we end the practice of ‘jumping forward’ and ‘falling back’ by making daylight saving time permanent.”

The two senators argued that darker winter afternoons can affect mental and physical health, and that the biannual transitions of “leaping forward” and “falling back” disrupt sleep patterns.

“The rate of heart attacks increases by 24 [percent] in the days after the March “spring forward,” according to a 2014 study from the University of Michigan. Another study published in 2016 found that stroke rates could also increase by 8 percent,” the two wrote . “Year-round daylight saving time could also reduce the likelihood of fatal car accidents, which increase by six percent in the days following the DST, according to a 2020 study by the University of Colorado.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks with reporters en route to a behind closed doors briefing on the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the Capitol March 7, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Senator Marco Rubio endorsed the Sun Protection Act, calling daylight saving time “an inconvenience to people everywhere.”
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“It’s really simple: Reducing sun exposure in the fall and winter is a burden on the American people and does little to no good for them,” they added. “It’s time we ditched this weary tradition. Tell your senators to loosen up and support our sun protection bill.”

The United States first enacted daylight saving time legislation in 1918, at the height of America’s involvement in World War I. The measure was rescinded the following year due to its widespread unpopularity, although some states and cities — including New York — continued to practice it.

Daylight saving time returned during World War II and was in effect continuously between February 1942 and September 1945. After the war, states and cities were again allowed to choose whether to adopt the practice — and set their own start and end dates.

Daylight saving time was first federalized during the Nixon administration in 1974 to save fuel.
Daylight saving time was first federalized during the Nixon administration in 1974 to save fuel.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/FILE
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) speaks during the Past Due: People's State of the Union Watch event on Capitol Hill on March 1, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Sen. Ed Markey joined Sen. Marco Rubio’s bipartisan legislature.
Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Green New Deal Network

In 1966, the federal Standard Time Act standardized daylight saving time to begin on the last Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October. The timeframe has since been extended twice by legislative changes. Currently, Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

In January 1974, President Richard Nixon signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act forward, advancing standard time by one hour to conserve fuel during the ongoing gas crisis. The change again proved largely unpopular, particularly among parents who feared sending their children to school in the dark. In October of that year, President Gerald Ford signed an amendment restoring the traditional daylight saving time changes.





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