This month, two bills have been introduced in Congress to make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent in the US. DST is associated with later sunsets and clocks will move forward one hour this Sunday at 2 a.m. when transitioning from standard time. Senator Marco Rubio introduced a Senate bill on March 1 to make DST permanent nationwide, eliminating the November time change. A similar bill, the Sunshine Protection Act, passed in the Senate last year but did not pass in the House. On March 8, Rep. Mike Rogers introduced a House bill that would allow states to switch to permanent DST without congressional approval.
Why Permanent DST is Being Proposed
Supporters of permanent DST argue that changing the clocks twice a year is a nuisance and is no longer necessary to save fuel. Until 1966, states and local governments could institute their own time changes whenever they wanted, making it difficult for the transportation industry to coordinate travel between states. Now, states supporting permanent DST say it would be more convenient and reduce confusion to have a consistent time system throughout the country.
Health Implications of DST
Scientists have long associated the switch to DST with health problems such as circadian rhythm disruptions, higher risk for obesity, diabetes, high-blood pressure, and increased instances of workplace injuries, heart attacks, and even fatal car crashes. Permanent DST would eliminate the health risks and disruptions associated with the twice-yearly time changes.
Several states have already proposed bills to make DST permanent including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. However, the bills cannot go into effect until Congress either passes legislation making DST permanent for the whole country or allowing states to opt out of time changes without requiring congressional approval.