Breaking News: Senate Passes Bill to Make Daylight Savings Time Permanent, Would be Problematic for Orthodox Jews
By: Yehuda Alter
This afternoon, three days after “springing forward,” to the Daylight Savings Time schedule, the United States Senate passed a bill that would make Daylight Savings permanent.
Should it pass the House, which will take up the measure later this month—we will never change clocks again, beginning in November of 2023 (we would not “fall back” next fall, rather remain on the Daylight Savings Time schedule).
This possibility is a mixed bag—and for Orthodox Jews, the stakes are even higher.
While remaining on Daylight Savings Time would mean the earliest sunset in the winter would be about 6:30, giving us more sunshine in the afternoon, it would also mean that children would be leaving for school under dark skies, an exchange some say is not a worthwhile one.
This change would really complicate things in the winter, when the earliest zman for davening Shachris on some days would be about 8:00—far too late for many people who must get to work on time.
This is not the first time our government has tinkered with the time changes; for two years in the 1970’s, Daylight Savings was also made permanent, and it resulted in more accidents for children making their way to school in the darkness.
Senator Marco Rubio said about the bill’s passage: “Pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose ‘time’ has come. Why do we keep doing it? This really began in 1918 as a practice that was supposed to save energy. Since then we’ve adjusted. Today Daylight Savings Time, which started out as six months, was extended to eight months in 2005, clearly showing you what people’s preference was. We’re doing this back and forth if clock-changing for about 16 weeks of standard time a year. I think the majority of the American People’s preference is to just stop the back and forth,” Senator Rubio said.