Senate Passes Bill to Make Daylight Saving Permanent

March 15, 2022 by Reece Nations
Senate Passes Bill to Make Daylight Saving Permanent
Sunlight shines on the U.S. Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON — The Senate passed legislation that would permanently extend daylight saving time nationwide by unanimous consent on Tuesday.

The bill, entitled the Sunshine Protection Act, was sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and cosponsored by a bipartisan group of senators including Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who were original cosponsors. In total, 10 Republicans and eight Democrats signed on as cosponsors of the bill.

Rubio’s efforts to enshrine daylight saving time across the country date back to the 115th Congress in 2018, but the bill has died in committee each time. Rubio modeled the bill after a Florida state bill of the same name that passed in 2018.

The practice of setting clocks one hour forward so that evenings have more daylight was established by the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which required states to observe daylight saving time at 2 a.m. local time on the last Sunday in April until 2 a.m. local time on the last Sunday in October. The law was amended several times until the Energy Policy Act of 2005 set its current timeframe, lasting from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.


In its current form, daylight saving time encompasses 65% of the entire calendar year. Hawaii is the only state that has never observed daylight saving time after opting out of the Uniform Time Act’s provisions in 1967.

“You’ll see an eclectic collection of members of the U.S. Senate in favor of what we’ve just done here, and that’s to pass a bill to make daylight saving time permanent,” Rubio said in remarks from the Senate floor. “Just this past weekend we all went through that biannual ritual of changing the clock back and forth and the obstruction that comes with it. … I think the majority of American people’s preference is just to stop the back-and-forth changing, but beyond that, I think their preference is to just make daylight saving time permanent.”

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., has carried the identical House version of the bill during each failed attempt to pass it. This iteration of the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce.


Rubio and Markey jointly authored an op-ed on CNN’s website over the weekend in which they detail the rationale for the bill and the repercussions of switching between daylight saving time and standard time. The senators contend enacting permanent daylight saving time will yield economic and public health benefits.

The JPMorgan Chase Institute concluded in a study that the end of daylight saving time resulted in a reduction of daily card spending by 3.5% per capita, while the Department of Energy estimated in a report that permanent daylight saving time would lead to improved energy savings. 

Further, the National Road Safety Foundation released a study in 2019 that concluded the extra hour of sunlight during daylight saving time results in fewer car accidents and another report published in the scientific publication database ScienceDirect postulated that U.S. residents exercise more frequently during daylight saving time, thereby reducing the risk of heart problems and stroke.

In the last four years alone, 19 states have enacted legislation or passed resolutions that mandate daylight saving time year-round. However, the Uniform Time Act explicitly preempted all state laws related to daylight saving time, meaning Congress must pass legislation permitting the state legislation before their mandates go into effect.

​The bill still awaits House approval before it can move on to President Joe Biden’s desk for signing and enactment.


“Each November, the practice of ‘falling back’ an hour disrupts our lives and robs us of daylight hours to enjoy ourselves,” Whitehouse said in a written statement. “It’s time for Congress to take up this bipartisan legislation to make daylight saving time permanent and give Rhode Islanders an hour of afternoon sunshine back during the dark winter months.” 

Reece can be reached at [email protected]

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