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Is now the time? Senators want to keep daylight saving time year-round

A bipartisan group of senators has reintroduced legislation that would end the practice of changing clocks twice a year.
Plain analog clock.
Posted at 1:34 PM, Mar 02, 2023

It seems every six months, there is an effort among lawmakers to end the semiannual ritual of changing the clocks. 

Perhaps now is the time it finally happens?

On Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced legislation that would make daylight saving time year-round. The bill was introduced with support of a bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans. 

If approved, it would simply mean once the U.S. goes to daylight saving time in March, clocks would not roll back in the fall. The result would be later sunrises and sunsets from November through March. 

“This ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid. Locking the clock has overwhelming bipartisan and popular support. This Congress, I hope that we can finally get this done,” Rubio said in a statement. 

A man assembles clocks

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Last year was the closest the U.S. has come to abolishing time changes. 

In March 2022, the Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act, essentially keeping states in daylight saving time year-round. The bill passed under unanimous consent.

Generally, for a bill to go through the Senate, it would need to be heard by a committee and pass with support from 60 members. Or, a bill can be passed through unanimous consent. Bills passed by unanimous consent are often benign pieces of legislation, such as naming a V.A. hospital.

Bills can pass under unanimous consent as long as no one objects, which is what happened with the Sunshine Protection Act. But that does not mean the bill was widely supported.

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The House did not consider the legislation. 

Scientists also question the need to move up the clock during the winter. 

“If you look at the expert consensus from the scientific societies that focus on sleep, health and circadian rhythms, all of them agree this is a bad idea,” said Colorado University professor Ken Wright.“Yes, we should be getting rid of the time change. But the science suggests we should be sticking with standard time, not daylight saving time.”

A poll taken by Monmouth University last year shows few would join Wright’s stance of completely abolishing daylight saving time. Just 13% of Americans said they would favor making daylight standard time year-round. Thirty-five percent say they favor the status quo, while a plurality of 44% believe making daylight saving time year-round is the best way to go. 

Proponents of year-round daylight saving time say it would help the economy to have a later sunset time. 

“Science and common sense show that more year-round daylight would improve our health, help kids spend a bit more time enjoying outdoor after school activities, and encourage folks to support local businesses while on a sunny stroll in their communities,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

For now, expect to forward your clock by an hour on March 12.