Daylight Savings Time Year-Round?

Some lawmakers want to roll back the 1987 law, which NACS had a hand in passing.

March 15, 2021

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.—This weekend, daylight saving time officially began for 2021. Americans rolled their clocks forward one hour and keep them there until Sunday, Nov. 7, when daylight saving time ends. But a bipartisan group of U.S. senators has introduced a bill that would do away with the twice-yearly clock changes and make them permanent.

According to KTLA.com, the “Sunshine Protection Act of 2021” was proposed earlier this week to follow daylight saving time all year long in most of the United States. Hawaii and parts of Arizona don’t observe the time changes.

“The call to end the antiquated practice of clock changing is gaining momentum throughout the nation,” said Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida, one of the legislation’s sponsors. So far, 15 states have seen similar laws, resolutions or voter initiatives approved to make daylight saving time permanent, including Arkansas, Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. But for time changes to take effect, a federal statute must first be changed, and that’s what “The Sunshine Protection” seeks to accomplish. So far, it’s unclear whether the Senate will take up the latest legislation.

There are many pluses for daylight saving time. Several studies report health benefits related to having more daylight later in the day, including fewer cases of cardiac arrest, seasonal depression and stroke. Other studies have shown that daylight saving time boosts the economy and lessens energy usage.

In February 1983, NACS testified before the House Subcommittee on Energy Conservation and Power in support of legislation to move the beginning of daylight saving time from the last Sunday of April to the first Sunday of March. NACS in-house lobbyist Teri Richman told members of the committee that extending daylight saving time would: 

  • Lower crime rates

  • Reduce traffic injuries and fatalities

  • Increase available recreational hours

  • Reduce energy consumption

  • Increase productivity

Extending the daylight saving time was a legislative priority for NACS and was the subject of several "action alerts," letter-writing campaigns and personal visits with members of Congress and their staff by NACS retail members. The legislation became law in 1987. At the time, NACS said that extending daylight saving time would also lead to as much as an extra $1 billion in sales with people enjoying more daylight hours in the evening. As Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) put it: "Congress spends all day playing hardball on the Hill. Now we can play softball in the evening."

“When it’s dark or there are limited hours after work, people tend to go straight home and stay there,” said Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives, NACS. “When it’s lighter, they are more likely to go out and do something, whether it’s in the neighborhood, a local park or some other experience. And that behavior shift also drives sales, whether at a favorite restaurant or the local convenience store.

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