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Another year, another hour


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Daylight Savings Time ends this year on Nov. 5. We already know the drill. Stay up late, sleep in and move the clocks back an hour when we finally stagger awake. This year I was especially excited, not just because I love sleeping in, but because I was expecting this to be the last time.

We have this bi-yearly debate every year. It was an interesting idea by Benjamin Franklin. It caught on during the First World War. The abrupt, impending afternoon darkness causes “seasonal depression.” There’s not much more that needs to be said. I have grown tired of this charade, and I know I’m not the only one.

Every year, I’m caught off guard. Every year, I just barely remember the scheduled temporal shift the night before. I find myself constantly double-checking (DST starts the second Sunday of March and ends the first Sunday of November). What’s an extra hour of sleep if I’m restless the rest of the year?

Sen. Marco Rubio had my hopes up when he proposed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 (the third time he’s done so). This would make U.S. daylight saving time permanent, meaning that we’d finally be free from changing the time twice yearly. In 2022, it was passed in the Senate with unanimous consent. Unanimous. You’ll see unanimous decisions commonly passed in local government, but it’s a blue moon at the federal level.

When the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 was passed, it made waves. Political commentators were actually quite curt regarding the motion, evidence that the gridlock and red tape at the federal level is all for show, evidence that “if they wanted to, they would.”

Not me. It was a proud day to be an American.

Skip the clock ahead a year and imagine my disappointment when I realized the whole thing fizzled away in the House of Representatives. The 117th Congress ended without a vote on the bill. Well, that’s the cost of doing business in a bicameral legislature. That’s politics. That’s life.

During the 118th Congress, Sen. Rubio introduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023 (S.582), now for the fourth time. Rep. Vern Buchanan introduced the same bill in the House of Representatives (H.R.1279), and it’s the fourth time for him, too.

This isn’t me trying to be cynical to say, “We can’t even agree on the time of day. Our country must be doomed.” Instead, I still believe in the due process of our government. It ensures that bills that are passed are truly supported (even if not usually unanimous) and not because of any fluke.

The lesson here is that you shouldn’t just get your hopes up in politics. If a bill is on the table, you have to call your representatives to ensure that it gets passed.