WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) delivered remarks on the Senate floor about the Sunshine Protection Act, a bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. Senator Tuberville discussed how the outdated practice of changing our clocks twice a year negatively impacts farmers, mental health, physical fitness, economic growth, and the overall well-being of Alabamians.
Read excerpts from the speech below or watch here.
“Over the past two years, I have received countless calls from all over the state of Alabama to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. We’re living in the past. Many Alabamians, including parents, senior citizens, farmers, and mental health professionals have called my office in support of more sunshine in the evening.
This is probably one of the top issues that I get phone calls about, and we deal with a lot of them. It’s amazing how many phone calls that we do get over this one topic. People across America agree that changing our clocks back and forth twice a year really makes no sense. It makes no sense and as I said earlier, people call and say they’re just sick of it.
The idea of daylight saving was originally known as ‘wartime’. That’s when it was started. It was first introduced as a temporary measure to save energy during World War I. Many studies have proven that extra sunlight in the evening has benefits of mental health, physical fitness, economic growth, and overall well-being. It’s a simple way we could positively impact the day-to-day life of all Americans.
This bill is also a way to get something done that a lot of people care about. It affects everybody’s life in this country. Shifting clocks can disrupt sleep patterns. It’s kind of like jet lag. We’re giving the entire country jet lag twice a year. But a permanent Daylight Saving Time will help Americans maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Studies show that disrupting sleep patterns increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and other diseases. Northwestern Medical School found that the fallback and spring forward comes with a 9% spike in fatal car accidents and a 24% higher risk of heart attacks.
The long-term effects of sleep disruption include weight gain, headaches, and depression. The time to switch in the fall increases Seasonal Affective Disorder. One study found that the transition from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time increases the number of hospital visits of depression by 11%. You would think we would listen to that.
Permanent Daylight Saving Time with extra sunlight in the evening will also encourage more physical activity. Kids will be able to enjoy the outdoors more. Older Americans will be able to increase their Vitamin D.
Longer daylight hours in the evening have been proven to stimulate economic activity. People are more likely to shop, dine out, and participate in group activities when the light is outside.
But one [more] thing, it really affects our farmers. More sunshine during working hours means more time to work in the fields, which can translate to more profits, which our farmers desperately need. Permanent Daylight Saving Time could help farmers save energy.
In my state of Alabama, along with seventeen other states, they’ve already passed legislation to end [the] outdated practice of changing the clocks, but the federal government must act to allow these state laws to go into effect. So, making Daylight Saving Time permanent would improve our health, bolster our economy, benefit our farmers, and put America on the path to a brighter future. It makes a lot of sense. So, it’s time to move America forward and stop falling back.”
Last year, Senator Tuberville joined the effort to make DST permanent after hearing from many farmers, educators, seniors, and health professionals in Alabama about the positive impacts it would have. The U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act on March 15, 2022, by unanimous consent, but the U.S. House of Representatives did not bring it up for a vote before the 117th Congress ended, requiring it to be reintroduced again in the 118th Congress. The Senator spoke on the Senate floor about the issue earlier this year when the bill was re-introduced by Senator Rubio.
The Alabama Legislature passed a bill to permanently implement DST year-round in 2021, but legislation must first be passed at the federal level in order for the state law to take effect.
Daylight Saving Time began this year on Sunday, March 12, and ended Sunday, November 5.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.