Group of bipartisan senators pushes for permanent Daylight Saving Time

Author: CAITLIN O'KANE / CBS News Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
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Americans are about to “spring forward” and adjust their clocks for Daylight Saving Time, and a group of lawmakers wants to make it the last clock change ever. A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate to keep DST so that come November, Americans don’t have to “fall back” and adjust their clocks again.

The so-called “Sunshine Protection Act of 2021” was reintroduced by 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, on Tuesday.

In 2018, Florida passed legislation to keep DST, but a federal statute is required for the state to enact the change, according to a press release from Rubio.

Fifteen other states, including California, Louisiana, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Washington, have passed similar initiatives to keep DST year-round and dozens of other states are looking into doing the same, according to the press release.

The “Sunshine Protection Act of 2021” would apply to states who participate in DST by negating Standard Time, which only lasts between November to March, when Americans turn their clocks back one hour.

So, if the bill is passed, Americans would keep DST, which currently lasts from March to November, and wouldn’t have to change their clocks twice a year.

DST was first enacted in the U.S. due to Germany’s efforts to conserve fuel during World War I in 1916, according to a fact sheet from Rubio’s office. Its length has changed over the years and some years the U.S. has kept year-round DST, such as 1942-1945 and 1974-1975.

According to the fact sheet, there are many benefits to staying in DST. It would reduce car crashes and pedestrian accidents as daylight hours will better align with drivers’ standard work hours and increase visibility, according to the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Safety Research.

It will reduce the risk for cardiac issues, stroke and seasonal depression and, according to a 2015 Brookings Institution, it would reduce the number of robberies by 27 percent.

Other studies say it will benefit the economy, reduce childhood obesity and benefit agriculture. It would also reduce energy usage, as people won’t need to use as much electricity each day, a 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Energy shows, according to Rubio’s fact sheet.

If enacted, the bill would not change time zones or be mandated for states and territories that don’t currently practice DST, such as American Samoa, most of Arizona, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, according to the fact sheet.

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