There are plenty of things where taking Washington bureaucrats out of the equation would decidedly make things better.
It may not be the biggest change, but we can at least start with our clocks.
Two Florida Republicans — most notably Sen. Marco Rubio — are pushing to make Daylight Saving Time permanent by reintroducing a bill that would stop the federally mandated time change every year.
“Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced the Sunshine Protection Act, legislation that would make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent across the country,” the two lawmakers said in a press release.
“This is the second Congress that Buchanan and Rubio have introduced the measure and is reflective of the Florida legislature’s 2018 enactment of year-round DST. However, for this to apply, a change in the federal statute is required.”
“The legislation, if enacted, would apply to those states who currently participate in DST, which most states observe for eight months out of the year,” the release continued.
“Standard Time, from November to March, is only observed for four months out of the year. The bill would simply negate the need for Americans to change their clocks twice a year.”
“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,” Rubio said in the press release. “Reflecting the will of the State of Florida, I’m proud to reintroduce this bill to also make Daylight Saving Time permanent nationally.”
“Last year, Florida lawmakers were the first in the nation to vote to make Daylight Saving Time permanent in our home state,” Buchanan said. “We should follow their lead at the national level to allow them to move forward with this change and ensure that Florida and the rest of the nation are on the same page year-round.”
Even The Washington Post seemed to look favorably upon the so-called Sunshine Protection Act.
“There are two issues here. One is whether changing the clock is inherently a bad idea, because of sleep disruption, negative health effects and the general confusion generated by a jumpy time system,” a Friday piece read.
“The other issue is whether we need to favor the evening over the morning when trying to distribute our sunlight — not just during spring and summer and early fall but throughout the year.
“Researchers have published a variety of studies that question the wisdom of changing the clock. A 2016 study found evidence that the switch back to standard time in the fall is associated with a spike in diagnoses of depression, for example. A study published in Europe in 2018 found a ‘modest’ increase in heart attacks after the clocks change, with the effect more pronounced during the springtime shift. Certainly the time change can disrupt our sleep cycles, particularly in the spring, research shows.”
However, there’s a third issue at play here: The government really ought not be in the business of telling us when to shift our clocks.
Daylight Saving Time began in Germany during World War I in 1916 and was exported to the United States in 1918, albeit introduced haphazardly. Since Daylight Saving Time was implemented at a federal level by the Uniform Time Act back in 1966, we’ve been switching our clocks twice a year unless you live in one of the rare states or territories that rejected it. DST has proved more popular than Standard Time, and the government has extended the duration of the extra hour of daylight of daylight four times.
There’s simply no reason for us to be changing our clocks twice a year when it isn’t necessary. Even the old legend that Benjamin Franklin first got the idea from the Parisians is a bit erroneous; his suggestion was more sarcastic than serious. The evidence cited by Rubio and Buchanan for year-round DST is also convincing — including a reduction in traffic accidents, an increase in productivity, a drop in crime and a small but measurable positive effect on health.
It’s time to end DST, a relic of a different time. Government needs to get out of so many things. It can start with our clocks.