WASHINGTON, D.C. — At 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 10, Floridians will "Spring Forward" and set their clocks ahead an hour to mark the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, but three Florida lawmakers want this to be the last time anyone in a Daylight Saving Time state has to do it.
On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Rick Scott and U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan re-introduced the Sunshine Protection Act to make Daylight Saving Time permanent year-round. If passed, the legislation would apply to all states that participate in Daylight Saving Time from March to November each year. Currently, Hawaii and Arizona are the only states that do not observe Daylight Saving Time.
Last year, Florida legislature passed a bill that would allow Florida to stay in Daylight Saving Time year-round, however, the state cannot make the change without federal approval.
Florida is known as the "Sunshine State," but during Daylight Saving Time, Floridians lose an hour of sunlight in the evening, so Florida legislators are working to keep that extra hour of daylight in Florida and the other states that observe Daylight Saving Time.
“Studies have shown many benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time, which is why Florida’s legislature overwhelmingly voted to make it permanent last year,” Rubio said. “Reflecting the will of the State of Florida, I’m proud to reintroduce this bill to also make Daylight Saving Time permanent nationally.”
“I was glad to sign legislation as Governor to continue Daylight Saving Time year-round for Floridians, and now join Senator Rubio to lead this effort in Congress,” Scott said. “The Sunshine Protection Act will allow Floridians and visitors to enjoy our beautiful state even later in the day, and will benefit Florida’s tourism industry, which just celebrated another record year.”
“Last year, Florida lawmakers were the first in the nation to vote to make Daylight Saving Time permanent in our home state. We should follow their lead at the national level to allow them to move forward with this change and ensure that Florida and the rest of the nation are on the same page year-round” Representative Buchanan said.
In a press release, the Florida legislators listed the 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. 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 a small savings does occur.
Senator Rubio introduced the bill in Florida last year and state legislatures approved it.
Now it's up to Congress in Washington D.C. to decide to make Daylight Saving Time permanent in Florida and across the country. If the Florida lawmakers get their way, this Sunday, March 10 will be the last time America has to change their clocks.