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The Senate approves a bill to make daylight saving time permanent

A clock technician adjusts the hands on a large outdoor clock under construction at Electric Time Company in Medfield, Mass, last year, just days before daylight saving time was set to end.
Steven Senne
/
AP
A clock technician adjusts the hands on a large outdoor clock under construction at Electric Time Company in Medfield, Mass, last year, just days before daylight saving time was set to end.

Updated March 16, 2022 at 12:21 PM ET

The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would make daylight saving time permanent across the U.S. beginning in 2023. The so-called Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 was approved by unanimous consent, but would still require House approval and President Biden's signature to become law.

For those wishing for an end to annual clock shifting, this most recent push in Congress is perhaps better late than never.

"We don't have to keep doing this stupidity anymore. And why we would enshrine this in our laws and keep it for so long is beyond me," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., one of the sponsors of the bill, said on the Senate floor.

"Hopefully, this is the year that this gets done. And pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose time has come," he added.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office tells NPR that there are no immediate plans to vote on daylight saving time, but notes the House Committee on Energy and Commerce had a hearing on it last week and there's bipartisan support for it.

Daylight saving time currently makes up roughly eight months of the year, with the remainder counterintuitively called standard time.

Daylight saving time began as a bid to pack more hours of sunlight into the day during the summer months and cut down on energy use, though critics question how effective it's been toward that goal.

Instead, health experts say switching our clocks twice a year has led to an uptick in sleep deprivation and other health problems. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine supports a year-round national standard time.

An Economist/YouGov poll from last fall found that 63% of U.S. adults want to eliminate the biannual changing of clocks. It also found that more people support instituting daylight saving time permanently rather than standard time.

Over the last four years, at least 18 states have passed laws to permanently switch to daylight saving time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though federal law must first be changed to allow it.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joe Hernandez

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