No falling back this year? Senators propose staying on daylight saving time amid COVID-19 pandemic

WASHINGTON -- If Florida's senators get their way, the United States could completely forego falling back an hour in November and springing forward again in March.

Citing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott on Wednesday proposed legislation that, if passed, would skip the upcoming time change and keep the country on daylight saving time through November 2021.

The bill would not permanently keep the country on daylight saving time but would suspend clock-changing for one year. The legislators said it would "provide one year of stability for families who are already dealing with enough change with virtual learning, work from home, and other disruptions the COVID-19 pandemic has placed into our daily lives."

At present, daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. local time on Nov. 1, 2020, and begins again at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 14, 2021.



Rubio's office said he will invoke a rule that would bypass committee in an attempt to get the legislation on the Senate floor more quickly. It's not immediately clear how widespread support for the measure is across both houses of Congress.

The United States Department of Transportation, which oversees the country's standardized time zones, says on its website that the daylight saving process saves energy, prevents traffic injuries and reduces crime. In a news release, Rubio and Scott countered that suspending daylight saving time would accomplish those same goals as well as improving physical fitness, reducing childhood obesity and benefitting the agricultural economy.

SEE ALSO: Things you might not know about daylight saving time
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Check out these fast facts about daylight saving time.



The legislation from Rubio and Scott is the latest in a string of attempts around the country to ditch daylight saving time for good. Both California and Florida have moved to do away with the time change in recent years, with California voters approving a ballot measure in 2018 that would keep the Golden State on daylight saving time permanently. State legislators in Florida also recently agreed to keep the state on daylight saving time year-round, citing a boon to the winter tourist season, but are still awaiting further action at the federal level.

The issue has also come up recently in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington and several New England states, according to an accounting from National Geographic.

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 standardized time zones and daylight saving practices around the United States, but it allowed individual states to pass laws exempting themselves. Hawaii and much of Arizona do not observe daylight saving time, nor do American Samoa, Guam, the Minor Outlying Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Click here to read more about places that do not observe daylight saving.
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