I am now a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, which is a thing I just never imagined saying before and I am still getting used to it.
The campaign had a HUGE deadline on March 15th, something that I personally had to work harder on than just about anything I’ve ever worked on in my whole life. We got it done, and then I was at lunch trying to relax for just a minute when my phone absolutely exploded with messages.
Now you know the news: The U.S. Senate approved the Sunshine Protection Act. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse seemed absolutely giddy by the standards of the floor of the Senate.
This is great news!!! (If I was not running for Congress on a promised to fix Daylight Saving Time, this would be unequivocally great news. It still is great, but it does complicate my message just a bit. It’s OK, I’ll get that part figured out.)
That it came without a roll call vote, and happened with Unanimous Consent was a bit anticlimactic, and so Sen. Whitehouse had to explain it:
Whitehouse: We have just passed the bill to end the return from Daylight Savings Time.. pic.twitter.com/lDdwRzyemN— Acyn (@Acyn) March 15, 2022
Now, while this is progress for sure, it is not the end of the road. Even if the House passes this and the President signs it, I am worried something could goof it up before the implementation, which is a year and a half away. That’s why I think we need to keep pressing to make sure this gets done done done.
What could delay it? Or stop progress completely? Confusion about what time zone we are going to #LockTheClock into.
There is a small but vocal set of sleep scientists who have been saying that we should only lock into Standard Time, not Daylight Time, as the current bill is set up. Their arguments have never made much of a dent in the state legislatures, and now that we have the federal bill that has actually passed unanimously, it is crystal clear that permanent DST is what nearly all of the people and the politicians want.
But it is a legitimate question, and one that needs to be considered, especially in some states that lie on the western edge of their time zones.
That’s why I was so pleased to see that the Sunshine Act that was approved had a change that I recommended strongly to the office of the sponsor, Sen. Marco Rubio. The original bill had immediate implementation. I advocated that they include a one-year phase-in, and that is what happened.
Now we will have one more winter in Standard Time, and during that winter I hope a couple of key things happen:
- Legislators in states like Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee, as well as North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas all pay close attention all year to what the sunrises and sunsets could and should be. Permanent Standard time will still give them plenty of late sun in the summer, but will make mornings a bit less dark, and allow them to unify in a single time zone over those whole states, which are all split in two right now.
- That school boards everywhere will realize that change is coming, and this is the point they should really examine their bell schedules. School start times are outrageously early now, especially for high schools with what we know about the sleep needs of adolescents. With the sun coming up later, some high school start times should be pushed TWO HOURS later. That might seem like a huge change, and it is, but if we learned anything during Covid, it was that change can happen quickly if needed, and this is needed.
I think these things will happen, in part because I just took a look at my blog traffic. Usually my most popular pages are the ones with the memes, and the one that tracks legislation around the country. Since the Senate vote, by far my most popular page is the guide of which is the best time zone to lock into.
If you are in one of those states that is split, I hope you will take a look at where you are, and really consider what will be best for you and those around you.
But if you are in any of the other states, and you are mad about the fact that you still have to change your clocks two more times, just remember that other times that we have fiddled with the clock rashly and hastily, there was a backlash, and part of that backlash is what has kept us in the current mess for all these years.
We have had some form of clock changing since World War I. As the world currently tries to avoid World War III, let’s all just remain patient, and make sure that this particular part of modern life is surely, completely and finally fixed forever.
One other thing that could stop progress:
The other thing that could halt progress is just partisanship. This is a totally bipartisan bill, but the face most associated with it is Sen. Marco Rubio, who could be a candidate for president. Or there could be some other partisan spat that keeps progress from being made. That’s the kind of thing that drives me nutso, and it’s a big part of why I’m running for Congress. If you are interested in learning more, please be in touch on that site. Thanks.