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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signs daylight savings bill

Alabama Gov. Kay IveyKay IveyAlabama's GOP Gov. Kay Ivey to seek reelection Vaccination tracking apps ineffective, amplify inequalities, pose privacy issues: report Overnight Health Care: WHO renaming COVID-19 variants | Moderna applies for full vaccine approval | 1.1M NY vaccine passports downloaded since launch MORE (R) signed a bill on Thursday that would put Alabama on daylight saving time (DST) year-round — as long as Congress amends a federal law to authorize states to make the change.

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The bill received nearly complete support among state legislators. It passed through the Alabama Senate in a unanimous 29-0 vote before passing in the Alabama House last week 93-1.

“You go from March to November, one sort of time and switching to another time, it’s hard for folks to get used to the change,” state Rep. Ritchie Whorton (R), one of the bill’s sponsors, said last week. “A lot of people not used to getting up to the morning, running late and having an accident.”

The practice of changing clocks to take advantage of sunlight began nearly a century ago as an energy-saving measure in Germany during World War I. The United States began adopting the practice shortly after, but there was no national standard until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966.

The law required states to decide whether to adopt DST, which would be implemented and ended across the country each year on specific days. Full-time adoption of DST was not allowed. Only Arizona and Hawaii decided to use standard time year-round.

Supporters of moving permanently to DST say studies show the benefits of adding more light at the end of the day, including fewer traffic and pedestrian fatalities. More sunshine could also cut back on energy demands and could potentially deter criminals working under the cover of darkness, some experts say. 

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Opponents, like the National Parent Teacher Association, argue that ending the time change would put more children at risk as they walk to school in the morning.

Since 2015, virtually every legislature has introduced resolutions at some point to either place the state on standard time permanently or make DST permanent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Seventeen states have enacted legislation or passed a resolution, most recently including Georgia and Montana in 2021.

Congress has been pushing to fulfill the desires of states, especially after former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE endorsed the idea in 2019. 

A group of seven senators, led by Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFive years after the Pulse nightclub massacre the fight for LGBTQ+ rights continues Rubio calls on Biden to 'forcefully' confront Iran over movement of war ships Bipartisan lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua MORE (R-Fla.), introduced a bill in March to make DST permanent across the country.

Rubio called it an “antiquated practice” and said making DST permanent would “give our nation’s families more stability throughout the year.”