Daylight Saving Time One Step Closer to Becoming Permanent in U.S.

A bill passed the United State Senate Tuesday afternoon that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent starting in 2023, eliminating the yearly changing of clocks moving forward an hour in the spring and back an hour in the fall.

The bipartisan Sunshine Protection Act passed with unanimous approval, according to a tweet from Senate Cloakroom, and has received a significant push from its sponsors, including Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Ed Markey. The two senators wrote a joint op-ed that was published on CNN last week about the merits of making Daylight Saving Time permanent.

The practice of shifting the clocks began in the U.S. just over 100 years ago as America followed several other countries that had enacted similar time-changing policies to conserve energy and resources while extending the workday with more sunlight to support the efforts of soldiers in World War I, Newsweek previously reported.

Public opinion on the time change shifted over the next several decades, with certain areas of the country opting to ignore DST until the Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966, establishing specific days and policies for when the change should take place, with states able to opt out of the program.

Currently, Arizona and Hawaii don't follow the same pattern of clock changing as the rest of the country, and maintain one standard time throughout the year, Newsweek has reported.

In recent years, multiple states have passed or debated similar legislation to do away with the changing of the clocks, with supporters arguing that businesses would benefit from additional hours of afternoon and evening sunlight in the fall and winter months.

Senators Rubio and Markey said in their CNN op-ed that the move could improve the nation's mental health as Americans would have to deal with less dark afternoons that can contribute to seasonal depression.

In addition, Rubio and Markey cited several studies showing the harmful effects that changing the clocks can have on the average American's circadian rhythm and sleep cycle, which can lead to an increased risk for things like getting in car accidents. The senators cited evidence from a 2020 University of Colorado study showing that accident totals typically rise 6 percent in the days following the changing of the clocks.

"It's really straightforward: Cutting back on the sun during the fall and winter is a drain on the American people and does little to nothing to help them," the senators wrote. "It's time we retire this tired tradition."

The pair of senators and other supporters have said more afternoon sunlight would also allow more time for children to play outside and help create an economic boost. Rubio and Markey cited a Danish study showing that consumer spending increased 3.5 percent when there was more daylight in the evenings.

Update 3/15/22, 4:40 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information.

Daylight Saving Time Senate Bill
A bill passed the U.S. Senate Tuesday that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent across the U.S. Above, a clock hangs on the wall at Brown's Old Time Clock Shop March 6, 2007, in Plantation, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images