Daylight saving time here to stay?

Miriam Santos, Staff Writer

On March 15, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 623 (SB-623), or the Sunshine Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. If passed by the House of Representatives, it would take effect in November of 2023, making daylight saving time (DST) permanent nationwide except in Hawai’i, Arizona, and other U.S. territories that do not participate in the annual “spring forward” and “fall back” hour changes. 

Rubio’s bill is not the first of its kind. California has had DST legislation prior to SB-623 with voters giving the California legislature permission to end the clock-changing via the 2018 ballot measure, and the introduction of Assembly Bill 2868 in February 2022 by California Assemblyman Steven Choi which proposed making DST permanent in California with approval from the federal government.

Overall, SB-623 has been received positively by the public, as seen in a poll done by YouGov where 59% of 2000 people surveyed wished to see DST made permanent. Proponents of the bill cite a number of positive effects that would arise from making DST permanent. 

According to the Department of Transportation, these benefits would include saving energy, as people use fewer electronic appliances in the evenings with more natural light, and reducing crime, as it would get darker later which means people are less likely to still be outside once the sun goes down. 

Although the bill experienced positive reception from most Americans, some critics spoke out against the “disruptive” time shift prompted by the bill.

“Going to daylight saving time year-round is a really bad idea,” said Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, a neurologist at the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center. “If we do this, it’s essentially dosing the entire United States with jet lag — permanent jet lag.” 

The House has yet to schedule the Sunshine Protection Act for debate, leaving many wondering whether or not DST will become permanent or dismissed by the House.