Sunshine Protection Act: Lawmakers vote to stay in Daylight Saving Time

WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is filing legislation that would let Florida and the nation keep daylight saving time all year.

The Florida Republican is introducing the "Sunshine Protection Act" and the "Sunshine State Act" on Wednesday.

"“Last week, Florida’s Legislature overwhelmingly voted for permanent daylight saving time for the state of Florida,” Rubio said. “Reflecting the will of the Sunshine State, I proudly introduce these bills that would approve Florida’s will and, if made nationally, would also ensure Florida is not out of sync with the rest of the nation.”

The first bill would make daylight saving time permanent across the country. Currently, it runs from March to November. Most Americans must set their clocks ahead one hour in the spring and then turn them back in November.

The second bill would let Florida remain in daylight saving time on its own.

In a statement, Rubio said that the potential effects of making daylight saving time permanent for the nation: 

  • Benefits the economy, including the elimination of a substantial economic decline that comes every November when clocks move back, according to a study by JP Morgan Chase of major city regions, which found that there is a drop in economic activity of 2.2 percent – 4.9 percent when clocks move back.
  • Benefits the agricultural economy, which is disproportionately disrupted by biannual changes in time by upsetting farm schedules and farmers’ relationships with their supply chain and distribution partners.
  • Reduces the number of robberies by 27 percent, according to a 2015 Brookings Institution report, because of additional daylight in the evenings.  
  • Reduces car crashes and car wrecks involving pedestrians because the additional sunlight increased visibility, according to the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Safety Research.
  • Reduces childhood obesity, according to studies published by the International Journal Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Journal of Physical Activity and Health which found that children have more hours of physical activity during DST. 
  • Increased physical fitness, according to the Journal of Environment Psychology, which found that Day Light Saving Time increased pedestrian activity by 62% and cyclists activity by 38% because of additional daylight. 
  • Positive impact on wildlife conservation, according to a collaboration of 16 experts who studied DST’s impact on wildlife across the United States, Europe and parts of Australia concluded that DST 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. 

Last week the Florida Legislature agreed to make Florida the first state to adopt year-round daylight saving time statewide. But the change cannot take effect unless Congress changes federal law.

Rubio said keeping daylight saving time year-round would benefit the economy.

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