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Clock management: Pandemic spurs Marco Rubio, Rick Scott to renew push for Daylight Saving Time extension

Amidst the pandemic, the Senators don’t want to turn the clocks back.

With the United States still mired in pandemic uncertainty, Florida’s Senators converged Wednesday on a proposition to provide stability in one area at least: Clocks.

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott this week filed a bill to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, at least through November 7 2021.

The current bill continues thus far fruitless efforts on the federal level from the pair to sidestep the twice-a-year time changes. They filed legislation to the same effect in 2019.

The difference this time? COVID-19 and government actions in the face of the virus fight.

In a Wednesday morning media release, Florida’s Senior Senator said that this would help to ease the burden on Americans already struggling in areas beyond adjusting to time changes in the fall.

“Our government has asked a lot of the American people over the past seven months, and keeping the nation on Daylight Saving Time is just one small step we can take to help ease the burden,” Rubio said.

“More daylight in the after school hours is critical to helping families and children endure this challenging school year. Studies have shown many benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time, and while I believe we should make it permanent all year around, I urge my colleagues to — at the very least — work with me to avoid changing the clocks this fall.”

Rubio is going to “Rule 14” the measure, fast-tracking it to the Senate calendar without a committee hearing.

Scott, who signed a bill in 2018 signaling Florida’s enactment of permanent DST, invoked the summer lockdowns as a reason to keep the clocks where they are this fall.

“After months of staying inside amid the coronavirus pandemic, families across the nation could use a little more sunshine and time to enjoy all that Florida has to offer,” Scott said. “I signed legislation as Governor to continue Daylight Saving Time year-round for Floridians, and I’m glad to join Senator Rubio to lead this effort in Congress.”

Polling is with the Senators: a 2019 survey shows that people dislike time changes.

Likewise, President Donald Trump is a fan of permanent Daylight Saving Time.

“No one likes changing the clock,” the President tweeted last year.

Regardless of those hopeful tailwinds, time itself is a precious commodity in the Senators’ eleventh hour push to avoid the dreaded “fall back” time change that comes every autumn … unless legislators can move forward quickly and decisively.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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