Daylight saving time bill reintroduced in push to end ‘antiquated practice’

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A group of bipartisan senators has reintroduced a bill that would make daylight saving time permanent, as most of the country prepares to spring ahead Saturday.

The Sunshine Protection Act, introduced Tuesday, would make it unnecessary for Americans to switch their clocks twice a year.

Both Florida senators were joined by four Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the South, Midwest and New England to expand a 2018 Sunshine State measure that does away with Standard Time, which is observed from November to March. The bill was passed in Tallahassee, but requires federal approval before it can be enacted.

Fifteen other states have passed similar initiatives, according to the legislative sponsors.

“The call to end the antiquated practice of clock changing is gaining momentum throughout the nation,” Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said.

“Extra sunshine in the evenings not only puts a spring in our step and offers the perfect reason to get outside, but it also positively impacts consumer spending and shifts energy consumption,” Sen. Ed Markey said.

“Studies have found year-round Daylight Saving Time would improve public health, public safety, and mental health — especially important during this cold and dark COVID winter,” the Massachusetts Democrat added.

Daylight saving time was introduced during World War I. Critics say the policy is now obsolete, and claim increased daylight in the winter evening hours would reduce traffic accidents and robberies, while promoting wellness and economic growth.

A 2019 study in JAMA Neurology found evidence that people are at higher risk of heart attack, stroke and other harmful effects of sleep deprivation around the time of the biannual clock shifts.

In 2005, the US extended daylight saving time by four weeks, a move that actually saved about 0.5 percent in electricity use, according to the Department of Energy.

Arizona, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have opted out of participating in daylight saving time, meaning they see darker evenings all year round than the rest of the country.

“Americans’ lifestyles are very different than they were when Daylight Saving Time began more than a century ago,” Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said.

 “Making Daylight Saving Time permanent will end the biannual disruptions to daily life and give families more daylight hours to enjoy after work and school.”

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