Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are launching a fresh push for a bill that would make the U.S. stick with daylight-saving time all year, with the move coming as most Americans are due to spring forward by an hour on March 12.
The Senate unanimously approved the measure a year ago, but the Sunshine Protection Act didn’t find traction last year in the House of Representatives, as the head of one key committee said it’s not clear whether it’s better to make daylight-saving time permanent or stick year-round with standard time, if a change from the status quo is to be made at all.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has argued for adopting year-round standard time and opposed the Sunshine Protection Act, saying in a statement Tuesday that its approach “best aligns with the body’s internal clock.”
The bill to make daylight-saving time permanent was reintroduced on Wednesday in both the Democratic-run Senate and the GOP-controlled House. Its backers in the Senate include Republicans such as Florida’s Marco Rubio and Oklahoma’s James Lankford, along with Democrats such as Minnesota’s Tina Smith and Oregon’s Ron Wyden.
“This ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid. Locking the clock has overwhelming bipartisan and popular support. This Congress, I hope that we can finally get this done,” Rubio said in a statement Thursday.
Wyden said: “It’s time to put a stop to the twice-a-year time-change madness. Science and common sense show that more year-round daylight would improve our health, help kids spend a bit more time enjoying outdoor after-school activities, and encourage folks to support local businesses while on a sunny stroll in their communities.”
Two U.S. states don’t change their clocks at all — Hawaii and Arizona.
Now read: Six things worth knowing about daylight-saving time
And see: How daylight-saving time could impact your decision-making
On April 8, 2021, US Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Lankford (R-OK), and Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL) rolled out a new bipartisan bill seeking to make daylight-saving time (DST) permanent across the United States. This isn’t the first time a move of this kind has been attempted, as a similar effort was undertaken in 2019. If successful, the shift would mark the end of the biannual clock changes and associated confusion, while providing potentially substantial economic, social, and health benefits.
An estimated 70 other countries already observe permanent DST, including most EU members, as a means to conserve energy and take advantage of natural daylight into the late evening hours. Though this appears to be a common-sense policy, the bill’s sponsors still anticipate a lengthy debate before any changes can be enacted.
The economic advantages of the bill are clear. By not constantly switching back and forth between clocks, businesses could save significant time and energy around scheduling, accounting, and inventory management. A study carried out by the American Farm Bureau Federation also suggested that ending the unnatural switch between clocks could improve farm productivity by up to 1%, resulting in a yearly economic benefit of over $200 million. Finally, permanent DST would reduce the costs associated with implementing the prior clock changes in areas like aviation safety and communications.
In addition to potential financial gains, researchers have drawn correlations between permanent DST and improved public health, noting how more evening sunlight may decrease the risk of depression, stroke, and seasonal affective disorder. Lankford, for one, argues that the benefits of continuing DST are so great that “people in all 50 states should sure have the right to make this decision.”
Though the bill’s sponsors believe that the benefits of making DST permanent far outweigh any of the potential downsides, they expect a long fight ahead before these changes can be put into action. Moving forward, the bill’s sponsors are confident that making this change would be a major win for both the United States and its people.