Effort to End 'Stupid' Clock Changes Is Revived

Senators reintroduce legislation to make daylight saving time permanent
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2023 8:46 AM CST
Permanent Daylight Saving Time Isn't Dead Yet
A century of American tradition could be overthrown.   (Getty Images/StephanieFrey)

"Changing time twice a year is stupid," Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday in joining 11 other senators to reintroduce legislation to make daylight saving time permanent. The Sunshine Protection Act unanimously passed the Senate last March but stalled in the House as lawmakers determined it was not a priority. "This Congress, I hope that we can finally get this done," said Rubio, a Florida Republican co-sponsor, adding the bill to eliminate the "antiquated practice" of moving clocks backward and forward—an American ritual since 1918—has "overwhelming bipartisan and popular support," per NBC News.

But in some parts of the country, doing away with standard time would mean not seeing the sun until well after 8am from November to mid-March, an idea particularly bothersome to farmers. In introducing companion legislation in the House, Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan cited "enormous health and economic benefits to making daylight saving time permanent," per NBC. And yes, it could encourage economic activity during brighter afternoons. But a 2011 study on Indiana households that switched to DST in 2006 found they spent $9 million more on electricity per year with increased heating and cooling costs.

The country experimented with permanent DST in 1974 as a way to reduce energy use amid an oil embargo, per Reuters. But it was repealed just eight months into the two-year trial due to "widespread discontent," per the New York Times. NBC reports eight children in Florida died in traffic accidents "attributed to the change." Still, there is some research to support the idea of health benefits, including more sleep and less seasonal depression. "With the Sunshine Protection Act, we can shine a light on the darkest days of the year and deliver more sun, more smiles, and brighter skies," Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat, says in a statement. (Read more daylight saving time stories.)

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