Florida’s Marco Rubio gains support for permanent Daylight Saving Time

The Republican senator, along with Sen. Rick Scott, introduced the Sunshine Protection Act earlier this year.
Should we stop changing our clocks twice a year?
Should we stop changing our clocks twice a year? [ CHARLES KRUPA | AP ]
Published Nov. 21, 2019

Marco Rubio delivered the best news out of the nation’s capital this week. Florida’s senior senator hadn’t untangled the byzantine tax code or figured out how to pay off the enormous national debt. Nope. Instead, he announced four more senators agreed to sponsor his Sunshine Protection Act.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

A stroke of political genius, the bill would make Daylight Saving Time permanent across the country. No more messing with time twice a year. We would finally wake up from our long, sleepy-eyed nightmare. We can only hope Rubio keeps the political momentum rolling.

Nearly everyone seems to agree that we should stay on either Daylight Saving or Standard time. Falling back and springing forward are as popular as a Elizabeth Warren shirt at a Donald Trump rally. Babies (and their parents) can’t stand it. Dogs don’t get it. The rest of us barely tolerate it every November and March.

There may have been a time when switching the clocks made sense. But those days are long gone. Life teaches us that we don’t always need the things that we think we need like a childhood blanket or parachute pants. Fiddling with time has become a vestigial tail. It’s time to evolve.

MC Hammer, left, and Psy pose in parachute pants backstage at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards in 2012.
MC Hammer, left, and Psy pose in parachute pants backstage at the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards in 2012. [ JORDAN STRAUSS | AP ]

You don’t have to go far on Twitter to find a slew of supporters for permanent Daylight Saving Time, even if most of the people have never heard of Rubio’s bill.

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“Raise your hand if you are still feeling personally attacked by the ending of Daylight Saving Time,” asked @knew_nic.

“I know Daylight Saving is one hour, but this year it felt like we said, ‘To hell with it,’ and did two hours,” wrote @Elim2142.

Many lament how the lack of light at the end of the workday leaves them sad or depressed.

“Hate Daylight Saving,” wrote @danielletali. “I feel lonely way earlier than I’m comfortable with.”

For his part, Rubio said that he still hasn’t adjusted to setting the clocks back an hour on Nov. 3. Everywhere he goes, he hears from people about the advantages of staying on Daylight Saving Time. He’s hoping that in the next few months he and the eight sponsors (two Democrats and six Republicans) can build enough support to get the law passed.

“There is really no good argument against it,” he said in a statement. “It’s better for our country.”

Proponents of year-round Daylight Saving Time point to studies that indicate it would reduce energy consumption and car crashes, including collisions with wildlife. More light in the evening cuts down on burglaries and increases physical fitness, which helps prevent childhood obesity, they say.

Tinkering with time leads to a modest increase in heart attacks and strokes, a few studies have found. Neurologists call it unhealthy. Switching the clocks back also disrupts the economy, according to a report from JPMorgan Chase.

Some of the evidence is far from conclusive. But so too are the reasons for switching twice a year, which we know leaves too many of us feeling like zombies.

There are more important things going on in the world. But surely we have enough bandwidth left in this sleep-deprived country to take on multiple challenges. This is a solvable problem with a simple solution.

We don’t even have to do anything. When November rolls around next year, we carry on like nothing happened. No need for time to stand still for an hour early one Sunday morning. Just let the clocks keep ticking like we do the other 363 days of the year. No more “losing” an hour in the spring, or “gaining” one in the fall.

“We’re going to keep pushing on this,” Rubio said. “I really think this as close as we’ve ever come to getting it done.”

Carry on, Sen. Rubio. Your drowsy constituents are with you.