Sen. Patty Murray looked at her clock and asked why?

Melting clock

“This Sunday millions of Americans will once again roll their clocks back, and in no time, next spring they’ll have to roll their clocks forward—and for what?” the Washington Democrat said on the Senate floor, speaking on Nov. 4 in favor of the Sunshine Protection Act.

Murray is one of 15 cosponsors on the bipartisan bill, which has floated in legislative limbo for years, reemerging annually in, to date, unsuccessful attempts to put an end to the “fall back” time change. In March, Sen. Marco Rubio, who first put the bill forward, once again reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act.

“The call to end the antiquated practice of clock changing is gaining momentum throughout the nation,” Rubio said in a press release.

And at a time of seemingly insurmountable partisanship, the Florida Republican and Washington Democrat demonstrated that annoyance over early sunsets is one of the few remaining issues that can cross the aisle. In March, Murray and Rubio coauthored an editorial in USA Today.

“From Seattle to South Florida, for the vast majority of Americans who experience it every year, losing that hour—the annual ‘spring forward’—is a needless inconvenience and relic of a bygone era,” the senators wrote.

Read our July 1 post: Legal Complexities of Permanent Daylight Saving Time.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 19 states have attempted to shirk the clock switch and remain permanently on daylight saving time: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Wyoming, Tennessee, and Washington. However, without some form of federal action, the time change will continue in all states, except those which have opted to stay on standard time.

“State legislatures continue to grapple with the vexing and multifaceted state policy questions regarding the biannual changing of the clocks,” the NCSL states on its website. “Most all of the states have considered legislation over the last several years that would place the state permanently on either standard time or daylight saving time. Since 2015, at least 350 bills and resolutions have been introduced in virtually every state, but none of significance passed until 2018, when Florida became the first state to enact legislation to permanently observe DST, pending amendment of federal law to permit such action.”

But beyond congressional action, there are other options to give a federal OK to states that want to stay on permanent daylight saving time. In November, Murray joined fellow West Coast democrats, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Sen. Alex Padilla of California, in a letter urging Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg “to give full consideration to any petitions from states that have voted to move to permanent Daylight Saving Time (DST) to switch time zones and effectively establish permanent DST until a federal legislative solution can be reached.”

As of this writing, Buttigieg had not publicly responded to the request. And the Sunshine Protection Act remains in limbo. In March, the Senate bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, but has not yet had a hearing. A House of Representatives version of the bill, H.R. 69, was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in January and then the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce in February.