Is daylight saving time permanently staying? US Senate approves Sunshine Protection Act

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Americans may soon be able to skip the semiannual switching of clocks, and you can thank Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, for the nudge.

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation Tuesday that would make daylight saving time (DST) permanent across the country starting in 2023.

Thus, Americans will no longer need to change their clocks twice a year.

The bill, called The Sunshine Protection Act, was first introduced in January 2021 and reintroduced by Rubio and seven other bipartisan members of Congress last March.

Rubio brought the bill up Tuesday under unanimous consent.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, who was serving as acting Senate president during the process, whispered an emphatic "Yes!" when no one objected.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Florida, who introduced the House bill last year, said he would send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asking for immediate consideration of the bill.

“There are enormous health and economic benefits to making daylight saving time permanent,” Buchanan said. “Florida and 17 other states have already moved to adopt daylight saving time year-round but cannot do so without congressional approval. It’s time to end the antiquated practice of changing our clocks twice a year."

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Sunshine Protection Act: Senate passes bill to make daylight saving time permanent

More: How Daylight Saving affects your sleep and overall health

States push back on daylight saving time

In 2018, Florida's legislature enacted year-round DST. However, for Florida’s change to apply, a change in the federal statute is required.

Nineteen other states — Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming — have passed similar laws, resolutions or voter initiatives, and dozens more are looking to do so.

"In the last four years, 19 states have enacted legislation or passed resolutions to provide for year-round daylight saving time, if Congress were to allow such a change, and in some cases, if surrounding states enact the same legislation," Jim Reed of the National Conference of State Legislatures told USA TODAY.

It didn't work: Florida senators tried to use the pandemic as a reason to stop changing the clocks in 2020

More: 10 daylight saving time facts and why farmers aren’t to blame

Americans want to get rid of daylight saving time, poll finds

A poll conducted last October shows that most Americans want to avoid switching between daylight saving and standard time, though there is no consensus behind which should be used all year.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found only 25% of Americans said they preferred to switch back and forth between standard and daylight saving time.

Forty-three percent of Americans said they would like to see standard time used during the entire year. Thirty-two percent say they would prefer that daylight saving time be used all year.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,083 adults was conducted Oct. 21-25 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Contributing: Dylan Bell, Ledge King, Mike Snider, and Chelsey Cox of USA TODAY; and The Associated Press

Grace Pateras is a digital producer for the USA TODAY Network. Follow her on Twitter at @gracepateras.

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: US Senate approves bill to make daylight saving time permanent