Hyde-Smith, Rubio renew push to make Daylight Saving Time permanent

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2021

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), of Brookhaven, Tuesday joined U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to reintroduce legislation to make Daylight Saving Time permanent across the United States.

DST begins Sunday, March 14, and lasts until Sunday, Nov. 7.  The Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 would simply negate the need for Americans to change their clocks twice a year.  Many studies have shown that making DST permanent could benefit the economy and the country.

“The public safety improvements, economic benefits, and the wellbeing of the American people are all excellent and credible reasons to embrace year-long Daylight Saving Time,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I know the agricultural sector in Mississippi and across the nation desires this change.  I believe the Sunshine Protection Act would give us an immediate and long-term boost after a terrible pandemic year and a very dark winter.”

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“The call to end the antiquated practice of clock changing is gaining momentum throughout the nation,” Rubio said.  “Studies have shown many benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time, which is why the Florida legislature voted to make it permanent in 2018.  I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, and give our nation’s families more stability throughout the year.”

The legislation, if enacted, would apply to those states who currently participate in DST, which most states observe for eight months out of the year.  The remaining four months, November to March, fall under Standard Time.

Florida legislature in 2018 enacted year-round DST; however, for the act to apply, a change in the federal statute is required.  Fifteen other states (Arkansas, Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) have passed similar laws, resolutions or voter initiatives, and other states are considering similar action.

Additional cosponsors of Rubio’s legislation include Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Potential effects of making Daylight Saving Time permanent for the nation:

  • Benefits the economy. According to a study by JP Morgan Chase, which found that there is a drop in economic activity of 2.2% – 4.9% when clocks move back.
  • Benefits the agricultural economy, which is disrupted disproportionately by biannual changes in time by upsetting the synergy between farmers’ schedules and their supply chain partners.
  • Reduces car crashes and car accidents involving pedestrians.  Better aligning daylight hours to drivers’ standard work hours’ increases visibility, according to the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Safety Research.  Also reduces the number of vehicle collisions with wildlife by 8-11% by shifting normal traffic patterns to an hour off from nocturnal wildlife’s behavior.
  • Benefits health by reducing risks for cardiac issues, stroke and seasonal depression.
  • Reduces childhood obesity and increases physical fitness. According to studies published by the International Journal Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, children see an increase in physical activity during DST. The Journal of Environmental Psychology found that DST increased pedestrian activity by 62% and cyclists activity by 38% because of additional daylight.
  • Reduces the number of robberies by 27%, according to a 2015 Brookings Institution because of additional daylight in the evenings.
  • Reduces energy usage. A 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Energy found that during the four weeks the United States extended daylight savings from the 2005 law, there were savings of about 0.5% in electricity per day. Later studies have also shown that the energy savings are minimal but a small savings does occur.