Florida senators pushing to keep Daylight Savings Time during pandemic

Greg Nash

Florida Sens. Marco Rubio (R) and Rick Scott (R) on Wednesday proposed legislation that, if passed by Congress, would keep the U.S. on Daylight Savings Time (DST) through next fall. 

The lawmakers announced the proposal in a statement Wednesday, saying that preventing Americans from “falling back” to Standard Time in six weeks would avoid the need to change clocks forward in March 2021. 

The proposed legislation would temporarily keep the U.S. on DST through November 7, 2021. 

The senators added that the bill would also “provide one year of stability for families who are already dealing with enough change with virtual learning, work from home, and other disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has placed into our daily lives.”

“Our government has asked a lot of the American people over the past seven months, and keeping the nation on Daylight Saving Time is just one small step we can take to help ease the burden,” Rubio said in the statement. “More daylight in the after school hours is critical to helping families and children endure this challenging school year. 

Rubio added that “studies have shown many benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time, and while I believe we should make it permanent all year around, I urge my colleagues to — at the very least — work with me to avoid changing the clocks this fall.”

Scott echoed these sentiments, adding in the statement that “after months of staying inside amid the coronavirus pandemic, families across the nation could use a little more sunshine and time to enjoy all that Florida has to offer.” 

The former Florida governor added that he “signed legislation as Governor to continue Daylight Saving Time year-round for Floridians” and that he was “glad to join Senator Rubio to lead this effort in Congress.”

Rubio previously introduced the “Sunshine Protection Act” in 2018 and 2019 to make DST permanent across the country, aligning with its 2018 enactment by the Florida legislature. However, Rubio and Scott noted in Wednesday’s statement that the Florida state legislation cannot go into effect until there is a change in the federal statute. 

Eleven other U.S. states, including Delaware, Louisiana, Oregon and South Carolina, have already passed similar legislation.

In their statement, the senators cited studies from the American Journal of Public Health, the Brookings Institution and the U.S. Department of Energy to argue that additional daylight hours would increase visibility, thus reducing car crashes, robberies and energy usage, among other claimed benefits.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Daylight savings time Florida Marco Rubio Rick Scott Senate
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