TAMPA, Fla. — Daylight saving time begins Sunday, and it's a sore subject for one federal lawmaker from Florida.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has long advocated for ending the tedious clock-setting and pushed for making daylight saving time year-round nationwide. In other words, we'd switch once and then stay there. There'd be no more time changes going forward.
Rubio, in a newly-released video message, didn't mince words.
"Switching in and out of Daylight Saving Time is outdated, and it's only a source of annoyance and confusion. Frankly, it's just dumb, and there's just no other way to say it," the senator said.
Last year, Rubio reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act (S.623). The bill reflects previous efforts from the Florida Legislature to create a year-round DST.
Back in 2018, Florida lawmakers voted to enact DST year-round. But, a federal statute is necessary to make Florida's change take effect. It hasn't been a priority in Washington, D.C. So, confused Floridians have just watched as we keep re-setting clocks years later.
Outside of DC, the concept is gaining popularity – with a growing number of states thinking like Florida. In addition to the Sunshine State, nineteen states have passed similar laws or measures of some sort. Rubio's office says they include Arkansas, Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
"Twenty states and a huge majority of Americans want to stay in Daylight Saving Time all year round, and we now have bipartisan and bicameral support to do just that. So please, let's just lock the clock once and for all and put all this stupidity behind us," Rubio said.
Currently, DST is scheduled to begin March 13 and end Nov. 6.
Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that don't observe DST. If the federal government enacts this legislation, it would make DST permanent for the other 48 states.
Rubio's office says studies have shown permanent DST could come with benefits, including:
Improving road safety
- Reducing car crashes by better aligning daylight hours with standard work hours
Improving the economy
- A JPMorgan Chase study apparently found a drop in financial activity when the clocks moved back.
Benefitting people's health
- Permanent DST is reportedly associated with a reduced risk of depression, cardiac issues and more physical fitness which could reduce obesity.
Helping the environment - a little?
- Research has shown minimal, but trackable, energy use reductions may be associated with permanent DST. As our VERIFY team found, the electrical savings aren't much.