The US Senate on Tuesday passed a bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent year round.
The bipartisan legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent and would make Daylight Saving Time, which is currently observed from March through November, “the new, permanent standard time,” according to a summary of the bill.
Though winter-weary residents of the Northeast may welcome the news, the bill would need to be passed by the House and signed by President Biden in order to become law.
The Sunshine Protection Act just passed the US Senate with unanimous consent. This is a big, sensible step forward.— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) March 15, 2022
Long live Daylight Saving Time!
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, the sponsor of the so-called Sunshine Protection Act, said on the Senate floor Tuesday that it would not take effect until late 2023 to allow airlines and other industries time to make adjustments to schedules. He called for the House to pass the legislation quickly.
“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.
Senator Ed Markey, a co-sponsor on the legislation, echoed Rubio’s call for House action.
“No more switching clocks, more daylight hours to spend outside after school and after work, and more smiles — that is what we get with permanent Daylight Saving Time,” Markey said in a statement. “We can’t always get agreement in Congress these days, but today, the bipartisan sunshine coalition shone through. Now, I call on my colleagues in the House of Representatives to lighten up and swiftly pass the Sunshine Protection Act.”
Proposals to make Daylight Saving Time permanent have been floated frequently in recent years but one had not been passed by the Senate until now. Efforts to make it permanent have also been considered by individual states, including Massachusetts. Lawmakers in Rubio’s home state of Florida enacted legislation to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, but it hinges on the passage of federal legislation in order to take effect.
But momentum has been building, with lawmakers coming out in favor of doing away with Americans’ twice annual tradition of changing the clocks. Advocates have pointed to a number of possible benefits, including more time for children to play outside after school, a reduction in energy use (though this effect is disputed), and even a reduction in car crashes.
Currently just two states, including Hawaii and Arizona, do not observe Daylight Saving Time.
Of course, no legislation could ever truly solve the problem of short, dark winter days in New England. Should Daylight Saving Time become permanent, sunrise in Boston would not happen until after 8 a.m. in December.
This breaking news story will be updated.