Locking the clock: from darkness to daylight

The reintroduction of the Sunshine Protection Act aims to “lock the clock” to end daylight saving time in the United States.

Last Sunday, the country set their clocks forward an hour to start daylight saving time. For over 100 years, Americans have had this ritual of changing their clocks twice a year, spring forward and fall backward, to get more sunlight during the summer.

Daylight saving time was first implemented in 1918’s Standard Time Act, that also separated the continental U.S. into five different time zones.

However, not all 50 states observe “daylight savings” such as Arizona and Hawaii.

In 1967, Hawaii opted out of using daylight saving time because the state’s sunrise and sunset are around the same time each day. Arizona, besides the Navajo Nation, opted out a year later due to the state’s extreme heat.

Daylight saving time was first introduced to conserve energy during World War I.

A study by Stanford University shows there’s only a 0.34% reduction in electricity consumption during daylight saving time. While another study found that daylight savings can be harmful to an individual’s health.

According to a study by UT Southwestern, changing clocks twice a year increased the risk of depression, obesity, heart attack, cancer and even car accidents.

This could also be the last time Americans would need to change their clocks.

In 2018, a bill called the Sunshine Protection Act was first introduced and aimed to make all 50 states stay on daylight saving time permanently. Both Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly supported the act but it did not pass.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced the bill this year.

“This ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid,” Rubio said. “Locking the clock has overwhelming bipartisan and popular support. I hope that we can finally get this done.”

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) said, “It’s past the time for Congress to broaden its horizons and finally make daylight saving time permanent; with the Sunshine Protection Act, we can shine a light on the darkest days of the year and deliver more sun, more smiles, and brighter skies.”

The bill will still need to pass in the House before being signed by President Biden to make daylight saving time permanent in the United States.

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