Time-switching could soon be a thing of the past
The United States Senate moved quickly to pass legislation which could forever end the biannual clock changes known as daylight saving time. The aged body gave unanimous consent — meaning no member opposed its passage — to the “Sunshine Protection Act of 2021” on March 15. Introduced less than a week earlier on March 9, 2021 by 5 Republicans and 3 Democrats, the bill will make daylight saving time permanent.
Daylight saving time was originally created to conserve energy during World War I by increasing the percentage of waking hours with the sun out (less time would be spent indoors using energy for light). Hawaii, Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation territory) and most U.S. territories long ago opted out of the system because they are already exposed to much daylight.
Politico reported that “the quick and consequential move happened so fast that several senators said afterward they were unaware of what had just happened.” Despite the rushed passage, it appears that most Senators are simply ready to move onto more pressing issues.
Supporters of passage are advised not to get excited yet. The Hill reports that the bill is currently held up in the House of Representatives, whose leaders are reportedly on board but whose members were apparently taken aback by the rapid-fire passage by their colleagues in the upper house. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Senate acted surprisingly “quickly and dispositively.” The top Democrat said that her party has to first “have socialize it in our caucus.”
President Joseph R. Biden is expected to sign the bill, if only to avoid upsetting the Senate. Even if the bill is passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law by President Joseph Biden, Americans must wait another year and a half. The change is set to officially take effect on November 5, 2023.