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What to Know About the Push to Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent

4 minute read

Early Sunday morning at 2 a.m., clocks across the world moved back one hour to mark the end of Daylight Saving Time in a practice with origins that dates back more than a century.

Daylight Saving Time, which adjusts time to make better use of the sunlight, lasts from March to November. For the remaining four months of the year, the United States goes by Standard Time.

Many hold the opinion that the U.S. needs to adopt either Standard Time (ST) or Daylight Saving Time (DST) year-round.

There has been a bipartisan push to make Daylight Saving Time permanent in the U.S. among legislators, with many citing increased health and financial benefits if the bi-annual clock change didn’t happen.

Why do we have Daylight Saving Time?

Daylight Saving Time dates back to World War I, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) says, as countries engaged in an effort to better preserve power and fuel.

Consumerism was also a factor, with the Chamber of Commerce famously in favor of the policy because Americans who left work while the light was still out were more likely to go out shopping in the afternoon, TIME previously reported. Sports and recreational activities also skyrocketed with greater sunshine hours, making some believe it was good for people’s health.

Although the practice was abolished on a national level after the war, states were allowed to keep it on a state-by-state basis. This caused transportation-related issues as local times differed within the same region, and ultimately, the DOT was given the authority to implement Daylight Saving Time across the nation.

By 1966, the practice was standardized after the passage of the Uniform Time Act, which said the nation would observe half a year of Daylight Saving Time and another six months of Standard Time. States were given the chance to opt in or out. Arizona, for instance, is one of two states that opted out because it gets plenty of daylight and heat in the summer.

In 2005, U.S. began observing eight months of Daylight Saving Time, which it still does today.

Why is there a push to keep Daylight Savings Time year-round?

Sen. Marco Rubio most recently introduced the Sunshine Protection Act in March, where it passed unanimously. The bill, which has yet to pass through the House of Representatives, would make Daylight Saving permanent. It remains stalled in Congress.

This proposed change means people would see greater sunsets after 6 p.m. throughout the year, with fewer mornings with the sun rising before 7 a.m., according to WSLS.

In the past few years, state legislatures have considered at least 450 bills that would establish year round Daylight Saving Time should a federal law in favor pass, the National Conference of State Legislatures found. Another 29 states have introduced legislation for year-round Daylight Savings Time.

Studies show that changing the clock twice a year can increase the risk of seasonal depression, stroke and cardiac arrest. A 2015 Brookings report also found that robberies also dropped 27% during the afternoon hour that gained some extra daylight.

A JP Morgan Chase & Co. study from 2016 also found that the end of daylight saving reduces card spending per capita by 3.5%, showing strong economic benefits.

“As the sun sets on our sunshine and we enter a long, dark winter, Congress has a chance to do something almost unheard of in the wake of a midterm election: pass bipartisan legislation,” said Sen. Ed Markey, an original sponsor of the Sunshine Protection Act, in an online statement. “Now that the Senate has voted unanimously to pass the Sunshine Protection Act, I’m sending rays of support to the House to get this done so Americans don’t have to suffer in darkness.”

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