Florida Senators Want to Extend Daylight Savings Time in the U.S.

Image by giselaatje from Pixabay 

Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott want to extend Daylight Savings Time in the U.S. until November 7th, 2021. The two senators introduced legislation on Wednesday, September 16th that could keep the United States on Daylight Savings Time through the 7th of November of next year because of the pandemic. The senators say the bill would “help provide stability for families who are already dealing with enough change with virtual learning, work from home, and other disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has placed into our daily lives.”

Americans would avoid changing clocks in March 2021 when the U.S. typically springs forward an hour if the bill passes into law.

A press release from Rubio’s office stated the following “potential effects of making Daylight Saving Time permanent for the nation”:

· 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. It also reduces the number of vehicle collisions with wildlife by 8 – 11 percent by shifting normal traffic patterns to an hour off from nocturnal wildlife’s behavior.

· Reduces risk for cardiac issues, stroke and seasonal depression.

· Reduces the number of robberies by 27 percent, according to a 2015 Brookings Institution because of additional daylight in the evenings.

· Benefits the economy, according to a study by JP Morgan Chase, which found that there is a drop in economic activity of 2.2 percent – 4.9 percent when clocks move back.

· 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.

· Benefits the agricultural economy, which is disproportionately disrupted by biannual changes in time by upsetting the synergy between farmers’ schedules and their supply chain partners.

· Reduces energy usage, a 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Energy found that during the 4 weeks the U.S. extended daylight savings from the 2005 law, there were savings of about 0.5 percent in electricity per day. Later studies have also shown that the energy savings are minimal but small savings do occur.

In 2018, Florida lawmakers approved a bill to keep Florida on Daylight Saving Time permanently. But it can’t be enacted without congressional approval of the Sunshine Protection Act. 

Other states such as Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Vermont have all had attempts made in their government to try to pass legislation to make daylights savings time permanent. Idaho, Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming have all struck down similar legislation.

“After months of staying inside amid the coronavirus pandemic, families across the nation could use a little more sunshine and time to enjoy all that Florida has to offer… I’m glad to join Senator Rubio to lead this effort in Congress,” Scott said.

The official first daylight saving time in the United States took place on March 15, 1918.

A state may opt-out of Daylight Savings Time, as long as it passes a state law.

Daylight Saving Time is scheduled to end in the United States on Sunday, November 1.

About Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time was first suggested by Benjamin Franklin in his essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” which was published in the Journal de Paris in April 1784. Many other countries change their clocks when adjusting to summer time, but the United States only began doing so towards the end of World War I in an attempt to conserve energy. Originally, clocks were sprung forward on the last Sunday in April and turned back on the last Sunday in October, but the Energy Policy Act of 2005 shifted the start of daylight saving time to the second Sunday in March and the end to the first Sunday in November.