- Senator Marco Rubio and other lawmakers have reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act, which would allow states to lock in permanent daylight saving time.
- The bill faces opposition in Congress due to regional factions and lack of majority support in either chamber, and there is no clear agreement among voters on the issue.
- Supporters of the bill cite health and economic benefits, while opponents point to potential negative effects and the failed experiment of permanent daylight saving time in the 1970s.
As Americans prepare to set their clocks forward one hour for daylight saving time early tomorrow morning, the debate over whether to make the time change permanent continues to rage on. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and other lawmakers have reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act, which would allow states to lock in permanent daylight saving time.
“This ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid,” Rubio said. “Locking the clock has overwhelming bipartisan and popular support. This Congress, I hope that we can finally get this done.”
Rubio isn’t alone in his sentiment. Fellow Senator Rick Scott is a co-sponsor of the bill, and points out he supported the idea even when he was governor of the state.
“When I was governor of Florida, I was proud to sign this bill into law on the state level, and I will continue this effort in Congress. We need to get it all the way over the finish line this time. It’s time for Congress to act and pass this good bill today.”
Congressman Vern Buchanan also says he supports the effort.
“There are enormous health and economic benefits to making daylight saving time permanent,” Buchanan said. “Florida lawmakers have already voted to make daylight saving time permanent in my home state and Congress should pass the Sunshine Protection Act to move Florida and the rest of the country to year-round daylight saving time.”
Even though other Senators from around the country also support the effort, the bill faces an uphill battle in Congress, where it has split traditional coalitions, with partisan politics replaced by regional factions based on where time zones fall.
Daylight saving time was created to make better use of sunlight during the summer, but as days get shorter in winter, many people experience depression. Supporting Florida’s push to make the change permanent, studies have also shown a greater risk of heart attacks, strokes, and traffic accidents in the days immediately after a time change.
Despite reintroducing the Sunshine Protection Act, the chances of its success appear unlikely as neither chamber of Congress has a majority in support of the bill, and there is no clear agreement among voters. A 2022 Monmouth University poll found that 44 percent of respondents wanted permanent daylight saving time, 13 percent wanted permanent standard time, and 35 percent wanted to stick with the current system. Key congressional leaders who oversee the relevant committees have not yet taken a public stance. Furthermore, opponents of the bill, including sleep medicine experts, point to the failed experiment in the 1970s when Congress made daylight saving time permanent, only to reverse it 10 months later.