What Permanent Daylight Savings Time Would Actually Mean

If you're tired of switching your clock back and forth twice a year, you're not alone. On March 15, the Senate unanimously agreed to put an end to standard time via the "Sunshine Protection Act," a measure put forward by Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, which negates the four-month period between November and March when clocks are usually set back, beginning in 2023. However, it still needs to go through the House, The Hill reports.

Standard time used to take up a much larger space of the year, but it wasn't until around World War 1 when both Germany and the United States decided to make better use of daylight to produce more goods for the war effort (and to feed bellies at home) during spring and summer. Thus, "daylight savings time" was invented.

Now, it seems like American lawmakers are inviting a little extra daylight into fall and winter evenings as well, but it comes at the expense of darker mornings. This has some parents worrying about the effects it may have on their school-bound children if put into motion, and it may even create some complications for those who experience seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression that can occur in some, and is generally related to a lack of access to sunlight.

What could go wrong with permanent daylight savings?

As the northern hemisphere begins to tilt away from the sun, the window of time that the sun appears in the United States shrinks down; eventually, things get dark and cold for a much greater part of the day. This is the axial shift from summer to fall, and then ultimately to winter. No amount of laws can create more sunlight or hours in the day in which sunlight exists: the "Sunshine Protection Act" doesn't "protect" the sun, rather, it shifts the schedule of time that society observes.

The tradeoff for a longer day is a delayed morning, then, because the sun now rises later according to how we observe the time. For instance, an 8 A.M. sunrise becomes a 9 A.M. sunrise. If you already hated driving to work in the dark, or if your schedule is entirely based around not needing to drive to work in the dark, this shift toward permanent daylight savings time may scramble your schedule until the Earth tilts back toward the sun come the spring.

"In the winter, the bill would force kids to wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast and get to school long before the sun has risen," said Stephen Shankland of CNET. "There are also health and safety concerns, and no clear majority of citizens is as enthusiastic about permanent daylight saving time as a bunch of senators."

Even those senators can't necessarily come to an agreement on whether doing away with clock-changing twice a year would be worth it. While support for the current form of the "Sunshine Protection Act" is bipartisan, variations on the legislation date back to 2018, with repeated efforts to push it through failing. Whether it'll work this time remains to be seen.