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U.S. Senate approves permanent Daylight Savings Time

Posted: Saturday, March 19, 2022. 12:46 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The United States Congress may be on the verge of making summer time forever, according to the BBC.

This week the United States Senate voted into law the Sunshine Protection Act, two days after Daylight Savings Time went into effect this year. The setting of clocks forward during summer hours in order to have more daylight in the afternoon (and, theoretically, conserve electricity), would be made permanent year-round.

The legislation is the pet project of Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida (whose nickname, perhaps not coincidentally, is “the Sunshine State”). He has been pitching legislation to make Daylight Savings Time permanent for four years, but this is the first time he’s found some success. The Senate measure was approved by unanimous consent – a process usually reserved for non-controversial legislation like naming post offices, designating disease-awareness days and celebrating sports league champions – just a few days after the US implemented its annual “spring forward” time change.

“Pardon the pun,” Rubio said after the bill was approved, “but this is an idea whose time has come.”

During his floor speech, the Florida senator presented a number of arguments in favour of the change. He said there are studies showing that clock-switching has a deleterious effect on health. Heart attacks and accident rates increase around the time changes. And anything that gives children more daylight to play in after school ends, instead of sitting inside, in front of electronics, is a good thing in his mind. (Florida is a state where children might still want to play outside in January, of course.)

The legislation moves to the House of Representatives, where it must also be approved by majority vote before it can be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

The White House hasn’t taken a position on the matter, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after expressing her own surprise that the Senate had acted so quickly, said she supported the measure – although she added that her chamber was more focused on tasks related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

 

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