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Has the US government made daylight saving time permanent?

A bill to make daylight saving time permanent year-round across the country didn’t pass. Here’s where the legislation stands right now.

If you dread changing the clocks twice a year, you’re not alone. But the ritual could become a thing of the past if the U.S. makes daylight saving time permanent. 

Right now, daylight saving time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday of November. 

Lawmakers have introduced legislation to make daylight saving time permanent throughout the country, citing alleged health and economic benefits. As the beginning of daylight saving time approaches in 2023, several VERIFY readers, including Marietta, have asked VERIFY if the U.S. government has officially made it permanent. 

THE QUESTION

Has the U.S. government made daylight saving time permanent?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER 

This is false.

No, the U.S. government hasn’t made daylight saving time permanent. 

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WHAT WE FOUND

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Sunshine Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), in March 2022, but it didn’t become law.  

The legislation would have made daylight saving time the new, permanent standard time throughout the country starting on Nov. 5, 2023. That means we wouldn’t change our clocks, or “fall back,” in November and would have a full year of daylight saving time instead of only eight months.

A matching bill was introduced in the U.S. House, but it didn’t pass or make it to a vote before the 117th Congress officially ended on Jan. 3, 2023. 

That means the legislation needs to be reintroduced during the current Congress in 2023. 

Rubio announced on March 2 that he reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023 for the 118th Congress. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) introduced companion legislation in the House. 

But the bill would still need to pass both the Senate and House, and receive President Biden's signature, to become law.

Federal law doesn’t allow full-time daylight saving time, so Congress needs to act before states could implement it year-round, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) explains. Federal law does allow state legislatures to exempt themselves from daylight saving time, meaning they stay in standard time for the full year.

More from VERIFYYes, states can opt out of daylight saving time

Florida lawmakers passed legislation to enact year-round daylight saving time in 2018, pending a change to federal law. More than a dozen other U.S. states have also passed laws, resolutions or voter initiatives aimed at doing the same. 

Hawaii and Arizona – except for the Navajo Nation – are the only U.S. states that don’t observe daylight saving time. The territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands don’t observe daylight saving time, either. 

Rubio previously said states and territories that currently remain on year-round standard time would continue to do so if the Sunshine Protection Act is passed into law. 

The U.S. hasn’t always had set rules for daylight saving time. When World War II ended in 1945, the law instating national daylight saving time was repealed so states could establish their own standard time, according to the Department of Defense (DOD).

The lack of rules for daylight saving time led to “confusion for the transportation and broadcast industries,” the DOD said, leading Congress to pass the Uniform Time Act in 1966. The act established a national standard time and daylight saving time from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.

The dates to “spring” forward and “fall” back have since been changed. In 2005, former President George W. Bush implemented the current policy that extended daylight saving time by several weeks. Daylight saving time currently begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

The U.S. has also tried permanent daylight saving time before. In December 1973, former President Richard Nixon signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act, which placed the country on daylight saving time beginning Jan. 6, 1974. Nixon made the move in response to what he called an “energy crisis” in the country. 

Dark mornings began to wear on people and year-round daylight saving time was scrapped in the fall of 1974, with clocks falling back on Oct. 27, the San Jose Mercury News reported in 2016.

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