U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., feels the pain of daylight-saving-time haters. He marked Sunday’s annual “spring forward” of clocks by re-introducing federal legislation on Wednesday to make daylight saving time year-round.
If the proposal becomes law, the time shift would be permanent, with more light at the end of the day and less in the morning. And people would be saved the agony of the twice a year resetting of clocks.
The Sunshine Protection Act would make DST permanent across the country, something the senator said in a written statement could have multiple benefits. “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 make Daylight Saving Time permanent nationally,” Rubio said.
Rubio introduced the same legislation a year ago, but it didn’t advance in the Senate Commerce Committee. Also sponsoring the legislation this year is U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key.
There are some immutable laws — of nature – that Rubio can’t change. A fact sheet prepared by his office said the legislation would not “change the hours of sunlight.”
Studies suggest multiple benefits from permanent daylight savings time, including an economic advantage.
Rubio’s office said additional daylight at the end of the day could mean fewer car accidents involving pedestrians; lower risk of cardiac illnesses, stroke and seasonal depression; fewer robberies; less child obesity and increased physical fitness; and reduced energy use.
Daylight saving time has been around since World War I, originally lasting six months at a time. In 2005, Congress changed the law to begin DST the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November, for a total of eight months.
There have been two temporary periods of year-round daylight saving time, from 1942 to 1945 because of World War II and during the 1974-75 energy crisis.
Time zones, Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific, wouldn’t change under Rubio’s legislation. States and territories that don’t currently observe DST, including most of Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, would not have to change.
Last year, Rubio also introduced the Sunshine State Act, which would have given Florida approval to establish permanent DST within its boundaries. That proposal was a response to the Florida Legislature voting to keep the state on year-round DST.
The sponsor of the Florida move — which can’t go into effect without a federal law allowing it — was Jeanette M. Nuñez, who was then a state representative and is now the state’s lieutenant governor.
Some have suggested that a Florida-only change could be problematic. If such a change went into effect, Florida would be an different from the other states in the eastern time zone, making routine aspects of daily life such as flight itineraries and television schedules more complicated.
Rubio isn’t re-introducing a Florida-only bill this year.
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