(NEXSTAR) – In a rare show of bipartisan cooperation, the Senate voted on Tuesday to make the transition to summer time permanent – something that was tried in the United States before … and failed.
Tuesday Senate passed the Sun Protection Act, which ensures that in March 2024, we make the last move ahead to never “roll back” (states with summer-exempt areas can choose standard time). The bill received unanimous support and now requires approval in the House of Representatives and the signature of President Biden to become law.
“Changing the clock twice a year is outdated and unnecessary,” said Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida after the Senate vote.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Americans want more sun and less depression – people in this country, from Seattle to Miami, want the Sun Protection Act,” added Washington Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.
Others who remember the lessons of the 1970s may not be so excited.
Daylight saving time in 1974
In order to combat the national energy crisis in the United States, then-President Richard Nixon signed an emergency summer shift law. in late 1973 in an attempt to reduce demand by lengthening daylight.
Public opinion about the year-round transition to summer time was high before the bill, according to The New York Times. However, almost 80% of the approval in December 1973 will drop sharply in the following months.
Parents began to worry about traffic accidents and the safety of their children, who were forced to go to school in the winter darkness. By February, approval was only 42%, according to the Times.
In October 1974, President Gerald Ford signed a bill to return the country to standard time for four months a year.
However, Nixon was not the only president to try to switch to summer time. During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson, following German leader Kaiser Wilhelm set the passage of time. The bill was widely hated by farmers, and Congress eventually rejected it after the war because of Wilson’s veto.
President Roosevelt also introduced daylight saving time during World War II, which he called “wartime,” which was abolished in 1945 after several states and cities resumed standard time. independently.
Will the transition to summer time be permanent?
The idea of switching to summer time, so appealing during after-hours golf courses or meetings with friends in the summer, has received widespread support over the years. So is the nation ready to make this “permanent” change again?
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who sponsored the Sun Protection Act, was quoted as saying “Strong science” He said changes in weather could lead to heart attacks, car accidents and pedestrian accidents, according to The Hill.
Proponents of the measure say the extra evening daylight will also reduce crime, potentially reduce energy consumption and reduce health risks associated with changing times.
Critics of the bill, however, say a year-round transition to summer time will spoil people’s circadian rhythms.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) issued a statement welcoming the push throughout the year, but warned that Rubio had chosen the wrong one.
The AASM added that “current evidence best confirms the adoption of a year-round standard time that best fits human circadian biology and provides certain benefits to public health and safety.”
Horatio del Iglesia, Professor of Biology at the University of Washington, told The Seattle Times that year-round daylight saving time “will be like Monday morning every day for the rest of your life”.
The AASM further rebuked the Senate for not allowing “neither sustainable debate nor debate” before passing the bill, and called on the House to “give more time to assess the possible consequences of introducing a permanent summer shift before making such an important decision.” of all Americans. ”
Where the House of Representatives and President Joe Biden fall on Rubio’s bill is not yet clear.
On Thursday, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said only that she “did not have a specific position of the administration at the time.”