With the end of daylight savings time around the corner, lawmakers continue the fight to make it permanent

Daylight Savings Time — Courtesy: Shutterstock — New Africa

The latest end of daylight savings time is Sunday morning, but the sun continues to set on legislative attempts to put a stop on the clock. One Florida congressman has shed more light on the effort to put an end to the annual tradition.

The earliest proposal to “save” daylight is usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin’s 1784 “An Economical Project.” Franklin suggested for citizens to rise at dawn in an effort to save money on candlelight expenses.

Earlier this year, Sen. Marco Rubio reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act (S.623). This legislation would make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent across the U.S., meaning there would be no reason to turn back the clocks once a year. 

“The call to end the antiquated practice of clock changing is gaining momentum throughout the nation,” Rubio said in a statement. “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.”

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), between 2015 and 2019, 29 states introduced legislation to abolish the end of DST.

Florida’s state legislature passed HB 103 with broadly bipartisan support in an effort to make daylight saving time permanent. The so-called Sunshine Protection Act was written to declare the Sunshine State’s goal of sticking to DST, but the clock continues to be reset each year.

So, if the majority of the state wants to stay on daylight savings time, what is stopping it from happening?

The answer is lack of federal approval.

Florida’s version of the Sunshine Protection Act signals the state’s intent to be on DST permanently. However, the manner in which HB 103 was written makes it so that change can only happen if a larger, federal version of the Sunshine Protection Act is passed and signed into law.

The initiative has stalled since 2018.

Florida U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan has recently introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to make this change permanent across the country every year since 2018. Sen. Marco Rubio, also of Florida, has sponsored legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Each year, despite more than a dozen co-sponsors in both chambers of Congress, the bill continues to die in committee.

The Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 was proposed by Buchanan in January. Rubio put his own version forward to match it in March, but both are still waiting for further action.

Now, approaching the end of 2021, neither version of the bill has moved past the introduction phase, according to Congress logs. 

In the meantime, it appears history will repeat itself and the process of setting back the clocks is here to stay, regardless of Florida’s desire to change.

Daylight savings ends on Nov. 7 at 2 a.m. this year.

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