Senate passes bipartisan bill to make Daylight Savings Time permanent

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We all hate changing our clocks two times a year. It’s a stupid, outdated system that benefits no one and makes people with seasonal affective disorder even more miserable. It’s insane to have sunset at 4:30 pm. We’re not all farmers who need to wake up and plow the lower forty. It’s time to make Daylight Savings Time 365 days a year.

Representative Frank Pallone, The House Energy, and Commerce committee’s chairman, cited a 2019 poll that found 71% of Americans prefer to no longer switch their clocks twice a year when speaking during a hearing about the subject last week and also said, said, “The loss of that one hour of sleep seems to impact us for days afterward. It also can cause havoc on the sleeping patterns of our kids and our pets.”

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would make daylight saving time permanent starting in 2023, ending the twice-annual changing of clocks in a move promoted by supporters advocating brighter afternoons and more economic activity.

The Sunshine Protection Act was passed unanimously by the Senate by voice vote, but The House of Representatives, which has already held a committee hearing on the matter, must still pass the bill before it can go to President Joe Biden to sign.

It is unknown whether or not the White House supports the measure, but seriously, why wouldn’t Biden?

One of the bill’s sponsors, Senator Marco Rubio, explained that supporters agreed the change would not take place until November 2023 after input from airlines and broadcasters.

“I know this is not the most important issue confronting America, but it’s one of those issues where there’s a lot of agreement,” Rubio said. “If we can get this passed, we don’t have to do this stupidity anymore.”

“Pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose time has come,” he added.

In an op-ed published last week, Rubio and Edward J. Markey advocated for the time change, calling it “an inconvenience to people everywhere.”

They cited some very valid reasons to do away with the archaic practice. 

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“The effects of darker afternoons on our mental and physical health can be serious. The biannual transition of “spring forward” and “fall back” disrupts circadian sleeping patterns, causing confusion, sleep disturbances and even an elevated risk to heart health.”

They went on to cite studies, “The rate of heart attacks spikes by 24% in the days following “spring forward” in March, according to a 2014 study from the University of Michigan. Another study, published in 2016, found stroke rates may also increase by eight percent. Year-round daylight saving time could also decrease the likelihood of fatal car accidents, which jump six percent in the days following the time change, according to a 2020 study from the University of Colorado.

Stolen evening sunlight can also negatively impact mental health. A Danish study found hospitals see an 11% uptick in patients with symptoms of depression immediately following the switch from sunnier daylight saving time to the darker standard time in the fall. By making our days brighter year-round, we can also permanently speed up the clock on seasonal depression triggered by the dark days of winter.

Furthermore, extra sunshine in the evenings can give our economy a boost, with consumer spending up 3.5% when we have more daylight in the evenings, according to the same study in Denmark.”

Daylight saving time has been in place in nearly all of the United States since the 1960s after being first tried in 1918. Year-round daylight savings time was used during World War Two and adopted again in 1973 in a bid to reduce energy use because of an oil embargo and repealed a year later.

If passed, the bill would allow Arizona and Hawaii, which do not observe daylight savings time, to remain on standard time as well as American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In essence, the bill would not affect them at all. 

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Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.