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U.S. Senate passes bill to make daylight time permanent from 2023

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The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that would make daylight saving time permanent starting in 2023, ending the twice-annual changing of clocks in a move promoted by supporters advocating brighter afternoons and more economic activity.

The Senate approved the measure, called the Sunshine Protection Act, unanimously by voice vote. The House of Representatives, which has held a committee hearing on the matter, still must pass the bill before it can go to President Joe Biden to sign.

Read more: Daylight saving time 2022: When does it start, when does it end and why is it here?

The White House has not said whether Biden supports it. A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to say if she supports the measure but said she was reviewing it closely.

Senator Marco Rubio, one of the bill’s sponsors, said supporters agreed the change would not take place until November 2023 after input from airlines and broadcasters.

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The change would help enable children to play outdoors later and reduce seasonal depression, according to supporters.

“I know this is not the most important issue confronting America, but it’s one of those issues where there’s a lot of agreement,” Rubio said. “If we can get this passed, we don’t have to do this stupidity anymore.”

“Pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose time has come,” he added.

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The National Association of Convenience Stores opposes the change, telling Congress this month “we should not have kids going to school in the dark.”

On Sunday, most of the United States resumed daylight saving time, moving ahead one hour. The United States will resume standard time in November.

Since 2015, about 30 states have introduced legislation to end the twice-yearly changing of clocks, with some states proposing to do it only if neighboring states do the same.

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Read more: Daylight Saving Time returns — and so does the fight over changing clocks

Pallone backs ending the clock switching but has not decided whether to support daylight or standard time as the permanent choice.

Pallone cited a 2019 poll that found that 71% of Americans prefer to no longer switch their clocks twice a year.

Supporters say the change could prevent a slight uptick in car crashes that typically occurs around the time changes and point to studies showing a small increase in the rate of heart attacks and strokes soon after the time change.

“It has real repercussions on our economy and our daily lives,” said Senator Ed Markey, another leading sponsor.

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Daylight saving time has been in place in nearly all of the United States since the 1960s after being first tried in 1918. Year-round daylight savings time was used during World War Two and adopted again in 1973 in a bid to reduce energy use because of an oil embargo and repealed a year later.

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The bill would allow Arizona and Hawaii, which do not observe daylight saving time, to remain on standard time as well as American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

(Reporting by David Shepardson. Editing by Will Dunham, Chizu Nomiyama and Karishma Singh)

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