In-Depth: Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent, thereby eliminating the need for most of the U.S. to reset its clocks twice a year:
“Last year, Florida lawmakers were the first in the nation to vote to make Daylight Saving Time permanent in our home state. We should follow their lead at the national level to allow them to move forward with this change and ensure that Florida and the rest of the nation are on the same page year-round.”
Senate sponsor Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) added:
“Studies have shown many benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time, which is why Florida’s legislature overwhelmingly voted to make it permanent last year. Reflecting the will of the State of Florida, I’m proud to reintroduce this bill to also make Daylight Saving Time permanent nationally.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who signed Florida's year-round Daylight Saving Time bill into law as governor before being elected to the Senate, is an original cosponsor of this bill's Senate companion. He adds:
"I was glad to sign legislation as governor to continue Daylight Saving Time year-round for Floridians, and now join Senator Rubio to lead this effort in Congress. The Sunshine Protection Act will allow Floridians and visitors to enjoy our beautiful state even later in the day, and will benefit Florida’s tourism industry, which just celebrated another record year.”
The bill’s sponsors produced a fact sheet touting the following potential benefits of making Daylight Saving Time permanent:
- Reducing car crashes and accidents involving pedestrians by 8-11%, according to the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Safety Research.
- Reducing risk for cardiac issues, stroke, and seasonal depression.
- Reducing robberies by 27% according to a 2015 Brookings Institution study, due to more daylight in the evenings.
- Benefitting the economy, as a JPMorgan Chase study found a drop in economic activity of 2.2% - 4.9% when clocks move back.
- Reducing childhood obesity and increasing physical fitness, according to the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, and the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
- Benefitting the agricultural industry by eliminating biannual disruptions in farmers’ schedules and supply chain partners.
- Reducing energy usage by 0.5% per day according to a Dept. of Energy study conducted in 2005 after the U.S. added four weeks of DST.
The day after Daylight Saving Time took effect in 2019, President Trump tweeted his support for permanent DST, tweeting, “Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!”
Brian Anderson, who testified against a Utah bill as an advocate for changing the clocks twice a year, contended that it’s not hard or time-consuming to make the adjustment, and most people get a different amount of sleep night to night, anyway:
“Nobody complains about getting the hour of sleep in the fall, but when you lose it in the spring, people think that’s dangerous or bad. I’d be hard-pressed to point to anybody that gets the same hours of sleep every night.”
This bill has seven bipartisan House cosponsors, including four Republicans and three Democrats. Its Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Rubio, has three bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including two Democrats and one Republican.
Last Congress, this bill had three bipartisan House cosponsors, including two Democrats and one Republican. It also had a Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Rubio without any cosponsors. Neither bill received a committee vote.
Of Note: The U.S. began observing DST in 1918 following the enactment of the Standard Time Act, but after the DST-related provisions were repealed the following year after World War I states and cities were empowered to set their own dates and times for observing DST. Aside from a period during World War II when the U.S. adopted "War Time" and observed DST year-round, that continued until 1966.
There proved to be a lot of problems with allowing states and cities to choose when DST began and ended within their jurisdiction, and in 1961 the Interstate Commerce Commission told Congress to come up with a solution. In 1965, observance of DST was particularly chaotic in the Midwest: within the state of Iowa there were 23 different start and end times for DST, and St. Paul, Minnesota began DST two weeks before its twin city, Minneapolis.
In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act, which set nationwide start and end dates for DST in the states that chose to observe it (which all but Arizona and Hawaii did).
Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / StephanieFrey)