Monday, August 1, 2022

Permanent Daylight Saving Time Stalls in House

More than four months after the Senate unanimously passed a bill to make daylight saving time permanent in the U.S., the measure has hit a brick wall in the House, reports The Hill.

The main impediments dimming the legislation’s chances of passing appear to be fundamental disagreements over its language and a general consensus that other matter take precedence as the House grapples with high inflation, gun massacres and fending off judicial threats on issues such as abortion and marriage equality.

“I can’t say it’s a priority,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told The Hill recently.

“We have so many other priorities, but it doesn’t mean because it’s not a priority that we’re not trying to work on it. We are,” he said, adding later, “If we can accomplish anything, it wouldn’t be until the fall.”

The Senate created a buzz in March when it approved the Sunshine Protection Act — which would make daylight saving time permanent — through unanimous consent, drawing widespread headlines. The legislation, which would not take effect until November 2023, calls for abandoning the process of changing clocks twice a year, a practice intended to give Americans an extra hour of daylight during the fall and winter.

But to do that, U.S. residents would lose an hour of daylight in the morning from November through February.

Insider Radio notes if the proposed Sunshine Protection Act (S. 623) is passed by the Senate and signed by President Biden, daytime-only AM stations would need to wait an hour later before signing-on for several months of the year. The impact would be limited in summertime. But during the darkest days of November, December, January and February it would mean that that the sun would not rise until after 8am – and in some cases nearly 9am – when morning drivetime is over.

It is not just daytime-only stations that would be impacted. Scores of AM stations operate at either reduced power or with directional signals after dark. That has raised concerns of broadcasters who say the morning daypart is when most of their revenue is made. Some of the losses would be offset by the change that would give AMs more time during their afternoon drive, when some stations need to power down before 5pm during the winter months.

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