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Rubio, Scott Introduce Bill to Keep Daylight Saving Time During Pandemic
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced legislation that would keep the United States on Daylight Saving Time (DST) through November 7, 2021. By preventing the United States from “falling back” to Standard Time in six weeks, Americans would also avoid changing clocks in March 2021 when the United States typically springs forward into DST. The bill would provide one year of stability for families who are already dealing with enough change with virtual learning, work from home, and other disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has placed into our daily lives.
“Our government has asked a lot of the American people over the past seven months, and keeping the nation on Daylight Saving Time is just one small step we can take to help ease the burden,” Rubio said. “More daylight in the after school hours is critical to helping families and children endure this challenging school year. Studies have shown many benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time, and while I believe we should make it permanent all year around, I urge my colleagues to — at the very least — work with me to avoid changing the clocks this fall.”
“After months of staying inside amid the coronavirus pandemic, families across the nation could use a little more sunshine and time to enjoy all that Florida has to offer,” Scott said. “I signed legislation as Governor to continue Daylight Saving Time year-round for Floridians, and I’m glad to join Senator Rubio to lead this effort in Congress.”
Recognizing legislative days prior to November 1 are limited, Senator Rubio will “Rule 14” the bill, which means the bill will bypass the Senate Committee on Commerce and be placed directly on the Senate Calendar.
In March 2019, Senator Rubio re-introduced the Sunshine Protection Act, legislation that would make DST permanent across the country. The bill reflects the Florida legislature’s 2018 enactment of year-round DST; however, for Florida’s change to apply, a change in the federal statute is required. 11 other states —Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Arkansas, Alabama, and Wyoming — have passed similar laws, and dozens more are looking. In 2018, California voters overwhelmingly passed a proposition to authorize the state legislature to move to permanent DST.
Potential effects of making Daylight Saving Time permanent for the nation:
- Reduces car crashes and car accidents involving pedestrians: better aligning daylight hours to drivers’ standard work hours’ increases visibility, according to the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Safety Research. Also reduces the number of vehicle collisions with wildlife by 8 – 11 percent by shifting normal traffic patterns to an hour off from nocturnal wildlife’s behavior.
- Reduces the number of robberies by 27 percent, according to a 2015 Brookings Institution because of additional daylight in the evenings.
- Benefits the economy, according to a study by JP Morgan Chase, which found that there is a drop in economic activity of 2.2 percent – 4.9 percent when clocks move back.
- Reduces childhood obesity and increases physical fitness, according to studies published by the International Journal Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, children see an increase in physical activity during DST. The Journal of Environmental Psychology found that DST increased pedestrian activity by 62% and cyclists activity by 38% because of additional daylight.
- Benefits the agricultural economy, which is disproportionately disrupted by biannual changes in time by upsetting the synergy between farmers’ schedules and their supply chain partners.
- Reduces energy usage, a 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Energy found that during the 4 weeks the U.S. extended daylight savings from the 2005 law, there were savings of about 0.5 percent in electricity per day. Later studies have also shown that the energy savings are minimal but a small savings does occur.