Every year, many people around the U.S. gripe and groan about setting the clocks forward and backward in order to account for the switch from Standard to Daylight Saving Time. Now, the Senate has passed the Sunshine Protection Act, a bill that could make that a thing of the past. Although many people were likely encouraged by the news that Daylight Saving Time could become permanent, others were confused about what that would mean.
What does permanent Daylight Saving Time mean?
Making Daylight Saving Time permanent in the U.S. would mean that the time that we are in now, in which there is more sunlight in the evening and less in the morning, would become the permanent time for every U.S. state. This would mean that in the dead of winter the sun would rise as late as 8:30 a.m., but there would be more sunlight in the evenings during those months and all year round.
What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of permanent Daylight Saving Time?
The news that the Senate had passed the Sunshine Protection Act, and that it had done so in a bipartisan manner in relative quiet, sent shockwaves through the internet yesterday, with many wondering what the potential benefits and drawbacks of permanent Daylight Saving Time might be. Some studies have suggested that it could help prevent pedestrian accidents, reduce crime, decrease seasonal depression, and even reduce childhood obesity.
Permanent Daylight Saving Time could also have some drawbacks, though, including issues with our circadian rhythms, as well as possible confusion among pets and livestock as to when they eat. There is no right answer when it comes to Daylight Saving Time, but most experts agree that the current system of switching our time back and forth is the worst option.
What happens next?
While the Sunshine Protection Act has passed in the Senate, it still needs to make it through the House and be signed into law by President Biden. Given how overwhelming the support for the bill was in the Senate, it seems possible that it could pass relatively smoothly. Of course, it's impossible to be confident in Congress behaving well, so anything is still possible.
If the bill does pass and become law, Senator Marco Rubio, one of the bill's sponsors, said that it would not go into effect until November of 2023. Rubio explained that the delay was because airlines, rails, and a variety of other transportation methods have already built out their schedules through that timeframe, and it would be disruptive to shift those schedules now.
As of November 2023, though, Americans would no longer be required to change their clocks twice a year. It's a change that many Americans have been calling for for years, although there are certainly some who believe that permanent Daylight Saving Time is not the solution. Whatever your opinion, hopefully we can all agree that it's nice to see Congress actually pass a law every once in a while.