Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Lankford (R-OK), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Ed Markey (D-MA) reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act, legislation that would make Daylight Saving Time (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. Fifteen other states — Arkansas, Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming — have passed similar laws, resolutions or voter initiatives, and dozens more are looking.
The legislation, if enacted, would apply to those states who currently participate in DST, which most states observe for eight months out of the year. Standard Time, from November to March, is only observed for four months out of the year. The bill would simply negate the need for Americans to change their clocks twice a year. Many studies have shown that making DST permanent could benefit the economy and the country. A one-pager of the bill is available here.
Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday, March 14, and lasts until Sunday, November 7.
“The call to end the antiquated practice of clock changing is gaining momentum throughout the nation,” Rubio said. “Studies have shown many benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time, which is why the Florida legislature voted to make it permanent in 2018. I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, and give our nation’s families more stability throughout the year.”
“In a year that feels like it’s been in complete darkness, Senator Rubio and I have provided a solution to provide more sunlight by making Daylight Saving Time permanent,” Lankford said. “I don’t know a parent of a young child that would oppose getting rid of springing forward or falling back. Congress created Daylight Saving decades ago as a wartime effort, now it is well past time to lock the clock and end this experiment.”
“Americans’ lifestyles are very different than they were when Daylight Saving Time began more than a century ago,” Whitehouse said. “Making Daylight Saving Time permanent will end the biannual disruptions to daily life and give families more daylight hours to enjoy after work and school.”
“The Sunshine Protection Act takes a common-sense step to provide some much-needed stability for families in Oregon and across the nation,” Wyden said. “Springing forward and falling back year after year only creates unnecessary confusion while harming Americans’ health and our economy. Making Daylight Saving permanent would give folks an hour back of sunshine during the winter months when we need it most.”
“The public safety improvements, economic benefits, and the wellbeing of the American people are all excellent and credible reasons to embrace year-long Daylight Saving Time,” Hyde-Smith said. “I know the agricultural sector in Mississippi and across the nation desires this change. I believe the Sunshine Protection Act would give us an immediate and long-term boost after a terrible pandemic year and a very dark winter.”
“As Governor of Florida, I was proud to sign legislation to make Daylight Saving Time permanent and I am continuing this effort in the Senate with my colleague, Senator Rubio. Americans could use a little more sunshine after a long winter and an entire year of staying indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic,” Scott said. “As our state works to fully reopen and bring visitors back safely, this legislation will give families more time to enjoy all that Florida has to offer.”
“Extra sunshine in the evenings not only puts a spring in our step and offers the perfect reason to get outside, but it also positively impacts consumer spending and shifts energy consumption,” Markey said. “Studies have found year-round Daylight Saving Time would improve public health, public safety, and mental health-- especially important during this cold and dark COVID winter. I am proud to have co-authored the provision of the 2005 law that extended Daylight Saving Time by several weeks, and I am now proud to sponsor the Sunshine Protection Act to add an extra hour of sunshine for the full 365 days a year.”
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.