U.S. Senate approved a bill that could make daylight saving time permanent. But standard time may also be the way to go.
The United States Senate unanimously approved on March 15 a bill proposing to make daylight saving time permanent across the country next year.
The bipartisan bill is named the Sunshine Protection Act. If the bill becomes law, Americans would no longer change their clocks twice a year. The bill still needs to be approved by the House and to receive President Joe Biden’s signature.
“No more switching clocks, more daylight hours to spend outside after school and after work, and more smiles — that is what we get with permanent Daylight Saving Time,” Ed Markey, a Democrat senator of Massachusetts and co-sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement.
Senators from both parties made the case that setting daylight saving time permanently would have positive effects on public health and the economy and even cut energy consumption.
“Changing the clock twice a year is outdated and unnecessary,” Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida said.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Americans want more sunshine and less depression,” Democrat Senator Patty Murray of Washington added.
Daylight saving time is a period between spring and fall when clocks are set one hour ahead of standard time. Nearly a dozen states across the U.S. have already standardized daylight saving time.
Many countries in the world have daylight saving time in place but they don’t all change on the same date.
Changing clocks twice a year is increasingly being challenged over its impact on sleep and the little effects on energy saving.
Daylight saving time was set to save energy. But an explanatory memorandum from the European Commission in 2018 explained that “research indicates that the overall energy savings effect of summer-time is marginal.” Electricity consumption has actually evolved a lot in past decades and its prevalence in the overall energy mix significantly decreased.
Turkey removed daylight saving time in 2017 and chose to stick to winter time. It even reported having saved energy, although data suggest the opposite.
Members of U.S. Congress have long been interested in the potential benefits and costs of daylight saving time since it was first adopted as a wartime measure in 1942. The proposal will now go to the House, where the Energy and Commerce Committee had a hearing to discuss possible legislation last week.
Congressman Frank Pallone, chairman of the committee, agreed in his opening statement at the hearing that it is “time we stop changing our clocks.” But he said he was undecided about whether daylight saving time or standard time is the way to go.
The European Union parliament voted in 2019 on the end of time arrangements from 2021. However, countries can’t agree on which time to choose and have even postponed the change.