Senate passes bill to make Daylight Savings Time permanent

The US Senate has passed a bill to make Daylight Savings Time permanent.

The Sunshine Protection Act was passed by unanimous consent on Tuesday.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio said following its passage that “it’s an eclectic collection of members of the United States Senate in favour of what we’ve just done here”.

“This past weekend we went through that biannual ritual of changing the clock back and forth and the disruption that comes with it,” he added. “Why do we keep doing it? This really began back in 1918 as a practice that was supposed to save energy.”

“Since then we’ve adjusted – today Daylight Savings Time, which started out as six months, was extended to eight months in 2005, clearly showing you what people’s preference was,” Mr Rubio said. “We’re doing this back and forth of clock-changing for about 16 weeks of standard time a year. I think the majority of the American people’s preference is just to stop the back and forth.”

He said studies have shown that clock-switching leads to an increase in heart attacks, as well as car and pedestrian accidents “in the week that follows the changes”.

He added that more daylight at the end of the day could reduce crime, child obesity, and seasonal depression.

Mr Rubio said “it gets really tough” in large parts of the US to keep kids outside playing sports and taking part in other outdoor activities when it gets dark earlier.

“For these 16 weeks a year, if you don’t have a park or an outdoor facility with lights, you’re basically shut down at 5pm. In some places as early as 4 or 4.30pm,” Mr Rubio said.

“I’m hoping that after today, [the bill] will go over to the House, they’ll act quickly on it. I know it’s not one of the most important issues confronting America, but it’s one of those issues where there’s a lot of agreement. And I think a lot do people wonder why it took so long to get here,” Mr Rubio added.

The Florida Senator said that if the bill is passed in the House and signed by President Joe Biden, the change would be delayed to November 2023 because “the airlines, the rails, transportation methods, others, have already built out schedules based on the existing ... timeline”.

“The good thing is that if we can get this passed, we don’t have to keep doing this stupidity anymore ... pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose time has come,” Mr Rubio quipped in conclusion.