WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill this week to make Daylight Saving Time permanent across the nation, arguing it would reduce crime and make people more fit.
Rubio’s legislation, the Sunshine Protection Act, is coupled with the Sunshine State Act, which allows only Florida to establish permanent Daylight Saving Time.
Arizona, Hawaii, and U.S. territories American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are currently national exceptions to the seasonal observance of DST.
“Last week, Florida’s legislature overwhelmingly voted for permanent Daylight Saving Time for the State of Florida,” Rubio said in a statement today. “Reflecting the will of the Sunshine State, I proudly introduce these bills that would approve Florida’s will and, if made nationally, would also ensure Florida is not out of sync with the rest of the nation.”
Rubio’s office said the bill would stop “a substantial economic decline that comes every November when clocks move back” and benefit agriculture that is “disproportionately disrupted by biannual changes in time by upsetting farm schedules and farmers’ relationships with their supply chain and distribution partners.”
A 2015 Brookings report was cited in estimating the number of robberies would drop 27 percent because it would stay light out longer. The same extended daylight would keep pedestrians safer from cars, Rubio’s office added.
Additionally, Rubio’s office argued nationwide permanent DST would reduce childhood obesity because there are more daylight hours for playtime, and increase physical fitness among adults because of longer daylight hours for biking and running.
The bill would also have a “positive impact on wildlife conservation, according to a collaboration of 16 experts who studied DST’s impact on wildlife across the United States, Europe and parts of Australia concluded that DST reduces the number of vehicle collisions with wildlife by 8-11 percent by shifting normal traffic patterns to an hour off from nocturnal wildlife’s behavior.”
Florida lawmakers last week passed the. Sunshine Protection Act in less than a minute in the state Senate, with a couple of dissenters. The state is expecting to need the blessing of Congress.