The Return of Daylight Savings
Daylight savings is coming up on March 12, and along with it, the question: What happened to the Sunshine Protection Act?
The clock-changing debate has been ongoing for years among state legislatures. There have been over 450 bills and resolutions in recent years, according to NCSL. Last year, with the introduction of the Sunshine Protection Act, many Americans thought we would be done with changing the clock for good.
While many people believe that DST's purpose is to give farmers more time to work in the fields in the spring and summer, it was enacted in the US during World War I to conserve fuel. DST reduces electricity consumption by making it light later in the day.
The Sunshine Protection Act, sponsored by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, would allow for a full year of Daylight Saving Time (DST) instead of only eight months.
According to the Bill, there are many potential advantages of having DST for a full year. Advantages include reducing car crashes and car accidents involving pedestrians; reducing the risk for cardiac issues, stroke, and seasonal depression; reducing the number of robberies by 27%; reducing childhood obesity and increasing physical fitness; benefitting the agricultural economy; and reducing energy usage.
Various polls show that the majority of Americans prefer DST over standard time. However, to move forward, the Bill requires approval by Congress. According to Patch, Congress has not prioritized this Bill due to more pressing issues, like inflation, gun violence issues, and more.
As written here, Agudath Israel played a part in ensuring the Bill would not get passed due to the disruptive impact it would have on morning prayers to the Orthodox Jewish community. Later sunrise would put minyanim and tefillah b'tzibbur in jeopardy.
"It was an intensive few months of working behind-the-scenes on this issue, which is so fraught with problems for the religious, economic, and family life of the Orthodox Jewish community," Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel's Vice President for Government Affairs and Washington Director, said. "We hope the issue has been put to rest, but we will continue to monitor the legislative docket and, if necessary, let our voice be heard, as there is much at stake here in regard to Orthodox Jewish life."