FLORIDA — If it makes its way through Congress, a bill filed by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio could make Daylight Saving Time permanent for everyone in the United States.
The Orlando Sentinel reports Rubio’s Sunshine Protection Act of 2019 was to be introduced Wednesday. It would make Daylight Saving Time year-round. The newspaper reports that a companion bill was filed in the House by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.
If the bill is approved, clocks would be set ahead one hour permanently, giving everyone an extra hour of sunlight in the evening during the winter months.
In a statement to the Orlando Sentinel, Rubio said: “Studies have shown many benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time, which is why Florida’s Legislature overwhelmingly voted to make it permanent last year. Reflecting the will of the state of Florida, I’m proud to reintroduce this bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent nationally.”
The bill would not alter or change time zones. It would also not require any state or territory that doesn’t already observe Daylight Saving Time to adopt it.
Rubio introduced a similar bill last year.
Nationwide daylight saving time began 100 years ago during World War I. During the long days of summer, the sun rose in some Northern regions between 4 and 5 a.m., when most non-farmers were asleep. Sunset happened before 8 p.m. and people turned on lights. By moving the clocks ahead an hour, backers believed the country could divert a bit of coal-fired electricity to the military instead of using it for an hour of home power. It was again adopted in World War II.
After each war, Congress rescinded the national laws but many people liked the extra hour of sunshine at the end of summer days, so some states and even cities observed daylight time while others kept standard time year-round. That meant driving relatively short distances could result in a time change or three.
By 1966, airlines and other clock-watching businesses tired of such quirks and pushed Congress to pass the Uniform Time Act. It codified daylight saving time, although it has been periodically modified, particularly the start and end dates. The only states not observing daylight time are Hawaii and Arizona, except for the latter’s Navajo reservations, which do.