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Rep. Johnson says daylight saving bill will pass if brought to House floor

The South Dakota Republican has previously brought a bill to end the clock-switching. Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate passed a measure to make permanent daylight saving time.

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U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., pictured in October in front of the Corn Palace, is in the midst of his second term in Congress and announced his run for federal office five years ago.
Matt Gade / Republic

WASHINGTON — Maybe South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson was just ahead of his time.

Last year, the two-term congressman signed onto the Sunshine Protection Act, a measure that would make permanent daylight saving time — and help Americans forgo that groggy biannual tradition of pushing clocks ahead or backward, while losing or gaining an hour of sunlight.

On Monday, March 14, his colleagues in the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill to do the same .

Now, he says the ball is in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's court.

"If she [Pelosi] puts this on the floor, this will pass," Johnson told Forum News Service on Tuesday, March 15.

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On Wednesday, Pelosi told The Hill newspaper that while she supported making daylight saving time permanent, she wanted to wait to bring the issue to a vote until she had an opportunity to "socialize" the bill in the Democratic caucus.

Daylight saving time first arrived in the U.S. in 1918 as a war-time measure to conserve energy and proved popular with merchants, as an extra hour of daylight in the evening fostered shopping. But the practice wasn't standardized until the 1960s.

In 1974, President Richard Nixon signed permanent daylight saving time into law . But the practice lost favor with a majority of Americans and was repealed a year later by his successor, President Gerald Ford.

In South Dakota, a bill brought by Rep. Lana Greenfield, R-Doland, deadlocked 33-33 in the House of Representatives in 2020 .

A spokeswoman for Johnson said his office has heard from thousands of constituents about the bill. For his part, Johnson says he grew attuned to the sunlight squeeze wrought by daylight saving when he tried in vain to go trap-shooting with his middle son one afternoon after work.

"By the time we got out there, it was already getting so dark," Johnson said. "I think families will get so much more value of having the sunlight in the 5 o'clock hour than in the beginning of the workday."

Christopher Vondracek is the South Dakota correspondent for Forum News Service. Contact Vondracek at cvondracek@forumcomm.com , or follow him on Twitter: @ChrisVondracek .

MORE FROM CHRISTOPHER VONDRACEK:
The state's biggest political leaders have touted inbound migration, so-called "blue state refugees" who flooded South Dakota. But the biggest driver of partisan races this coming summer and fall appears to be a redistricting process, log-jamming Republicans in primaries and opening up new turf for Democrats.

Christopher Vondracek covers South Dakota news for Forum News Service. Email him at cvondracek@forumcomm.com or follow him on Twitter at @ChrisVondracek.
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