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Are we really headed toward year-round Daylight Saving Time?

It seems like time has stood still since 2018 when nearly 60% of Californians voted in favor of ending the annual ritual of springing clocks forward only to turn them back eight months later by extending Daylight Saving Time year-round, if Congress is willing.

That’s because Congress, not known for its urgency, controls Daylight Saving Time. But finally, the Senate stirred and unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that Florida Republican Marco Rubio has been pushing for years to make that option permanent starting November 2023.

Now it’s on to the House, where approval would put it on President Biden’s desk.

“Pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose time has come,” Rubio quipped as he celebrated his Sunshine Protection Act’s passage. “Hopefully, this is the year that this gets done.”

The bill’s prospects in the House of Representatives are unclear, but it is an idea that transcends the usual political divides, with Democrats and Republicans on either side of the debate. Tom Emswiler, a public health advocate in Boston who’s been pushing for year-round Daylight Saving Time, said the Senate passage was a surprise to him, and it’s anybody’s guess what its prospects are in the House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office did not respond Wednesday to questions about her thoughts on permanent Daylight Saving Time.

“Normally, the Senate is harder to get something passed in than the House,” Emswiler said.

Rep. Adam Smith, a Seattle-area Democrat, is already on board as a co-sponsor in the House, where GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida is carrying the bill. Smith urged Congress “to make daylight savings time permanent across the country and to end the outdated practice of changing our clocks.”

As for President Biden’s thoughts, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that “we’re obviously coordinated and work closely with Congress on all legislation they consider, but I don’t have a specific position from the administration at this point in time.” In response to a follow-up question of whether he’s a morning or evening person, Psaki added that the president “is more of an evening person.”

Of course, the idea has plenty of detractors, from those who are fine with the twice-yearly resetting of the clock an hour forward and back, to those who prefer the “Standard Time” in place for four fall and winter months from early November to mid-March, which makes mornings brighter when days are short.

“We tried this before, and it was a disaster,” tweeted Dr. Denise Dewald, a Cleveland physician, about making DST year-round.

It’s true. Amid an energy crisis in 1974 that led to gas rationing, President Richard Nixon signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Act declaring that clocks would spring forward one hour on Jan. 6 and stay that way for nearly 16 months, until April 27, 1975. But it was scuttled, and clocks fell back again on Oct. 27, 1974, after people complained of darkness extending deep into the mornings.

The idea also drew some ribbing on social media this week, like this Twitter gem from comedian Mike Scollins: “Why are we stopping at daylight savings?! Ban 6 a.m. Make it always Friday. Go nuts.”

But making Daylight Saving Time permanent has gained traction across the country. Rubio’s office said Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming have passed laws, resolutions or voter initiatives to that effect, and dozens more are looking to do so.

Advocates argue that clock switching is dangerous, making people groggy and leading to more accidents, and that allowing more daylight in the afternoons will promote more healthy outdoor activity and exercise. Why not make standard time permanent instead? Youth sports advocates, among others, complain it would shorten the seasons for outdoor sports such as baseball and softball, soccer, lacrosse and others.

Rubio said the amended bill delays implementation until November 2023 “because of airlines, the rails, and transportation methods.”

“Others have already built out schedules based on the existing schedule on the existing timeline of this,” Rubio said in a statement. “They’ve asked for a few months here … to make that adjustment.”

The U.S. standardized Daylight Saving Time in 1966 when it ran from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. It was extended in 1986 to start the first Sunday in April and again in 2007 where it now runs from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

But not all states use it. Hawaii, located in the tropics where there’s little seasonal difference in the length of the day, remains on standard time year round, as does Arizona. The Sunshine Protection Act would apply to those states that currently participate in Daylight Saving Time, and those that don’t would have an opportunity to switch to Daylight Saving Time or otherwise could remain on Standard Time year-round.

California’s initiative allows the state to change its Daylight Saving Time schedule with a two-thirds vote of the legislature if Congress approves, but the bill now in Washington would simply expand Daylight Saving Time nationally year round without further action by the state.

For Kansen Chu, the former San Jose state assemblyman running for his old seat, this week’s passage of the Senate bill was a pleasant surprise and hopeful sign the former IBM engineer — whose bill had led to California’s vote in 2018 — won’t have to fumble with resetting his clock for much longer.

“That’s a big hurdle,” Chu said. “I’m just excited. It’s about time to revisit this antiquated process.”

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