More States Moving to Keep Daylight Saving Time Permanent

Plus, DST is NOT for Farmers!

October 29, 2020
Clock in Grass
M.Vich/Shutterstock

As of 2020, an impressive 32 states have engaged in legislation to establish Daylight Saving Time (DST) as the official time year-round. Is it time to scrap this clock-changing practice? Learn more about the myths of DST (it’s NOT for farmers) and the latest news on states’ efforts, and weigh in with your thoughts! 

Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November in the U.S. and Canada. In March, we “spring” forward and set clocks forward one hour. In November, we “fall” back and set clocks back one hour. It seems simple, but ends up having a lot of unexpected implications.

It’s a popular myth that Daylight Saving Time exists for farmers. This practice—which only became regular in 1966, suprisingly enough—was actually challenged by farmers and is being increasingly challenged by modern society.

Daylight Saving Time in the 1970s

Interestingly, Daylight Saving Time (DST) wasn’t a regular “thing” until April 12, 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act into law. This established a system of uniform (within each time zone) Daylight Saving Time rules throughout the U.S. and its territories. States were allowed to opt out (and some did).

The U.S. had Daylight Saving Time as early as 1918, but it was off and on. Namely, DST was briefly used during World War I and World War II to conserve fuel. It was used again for this purpose for a short while during the oil crisis of the early 1970’s under Nixon. (Read more about the checkered history of Daylight Saving Time.)

shutterstock_320805509_full_width.jpg
Photo credit: Billion Photos/Shutterstock

Daylight Saving is NOT for Farmers

Despite the popular belief that Daylight Saving was a convenience created for farmers, DST has nothing to do with farming. In fact, farmers have often been the strongest lobby against the change. Farmers didn’t like DST when it was first introduced and most don’t like it to this day.

During the first World War I experiment in 1918, farmers were extremely opposed to having to turn back and forward their clocks. Not surprisingly, it disrupted their schedules and made it more difficult to get the most out of hired help.

Imagine telling a dairy cow used to being milked at 5 a.m. that their milking time needs to move back an hour before the milk truck is coming to do a pickup. For the farmer—and the plants and animals—it’s the sun and the seasons that determine the best times to do things.

After the war ended, the DST law (which lasted only 7 months) proved so unpopular with our agrarian society, the federal law was repealed in 1919. Some state and localities continued the observance, however.

During another war, World War II, “War Time” was enforced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It introduced year-round Daylight Saving Time from February 9, 1942, to September 30, 1945. 

From 1945 to 1966, observance of DST was quite inconsistent across U.S. states. There were no uniform rules. This caused massive confusion with the transportation industry and the broadcasting industry, which pushed for standardization. The farmers, however, were still opposed to it.

To address this confusion, the Uniform Time Act was established in 1966.

DST Practices Today

The current enactment was part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation is the federal agency responsible for overseeing DST and the country’s time zones. All states but Hawaii and Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation) observe DST.

  • Hawaii abandoned the law in 1967. In Hawaii, the sun rises and sets at about the same time every day, so why bother?
  • Arizona followed suit in 1968. Not setting clocks forward gives residents lower temperatures during waking and bedtime hours. 

The territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not observe DST. Federal law allows a state to exempt itself from observing daylight saving time—upon action by the state legislature—but does not allow the permanent observance of DST.

shutterstock_398925817_full_width.jpg
Photo Credit: Zaccio/Shutterstock

Pros and Cons of Daylight Saving

Today, the country has a synchronized Daylight Saving Time schedule. It’s not war time. Why do we continue to change our clocks?

Well, some constituencies profit:

  • For example, today, we drive our cars everywhere. The lobbying groups for convenience stores know this—and pushed hard for daylight saving time to last as long as possible.
  • Extra daylight means more people shop in retail environments. Outdoor businesses such as golf courses and gardening supply stores report more profit with more daylight hours.  

But Does DST Conserve Energy?

The U.S. Department of Transportation website states that DST saves energy. However, modern studies have challenged this conclusion:

  • Department of Energy report from 2008 found that the extended DST put in place in 2005 saved about 0.5 percent in total electricity use per day. However, the closer you live to the equator, where the amount of daylight varies little, the amount of electricity actually increased after the clocks were switched.
  • In Indiana, a more recent convert to DST, a 2006 study showed DST hurt the state. Matthew Kotchen, a Yale economist, found a 1 percent increase in electricity use in Indiana. Due to higher electricity bills and more pollution, Indiana’s change ended up costing consumers $9 million per year.
  • Further studies in 2008 showed that Americans used more domestic electricity when they practice daylight saving.

Today, as modern society marches forward, the energy argument may become obsolete. In terms of work, we’re not really a strictly 9 to 5 society any more. Factories have different shifts. Office workers use the internet. Farmers will use daylight hours, no matter what. At home, our electricity demand is no longer based on sunrises and sunsets. We drive instead of walking, which means daylight saving actually increases gasoline use. 

It’s quite possible we are now wasting energy. 

And with computers, TV screens, and air conditioning using more energy, more Americans find switching clocks increasingly unpopular.

shutterstock_318184772_full_width.jpg

Health and Safety

Energy isn’t the only thing to be considered. What about our health and safety? For most people, the resulting tiredness is a minor inconvenience twice a year. For many folks, however, it’s a more serious issue.

The Department of Transportation claims (without any recent studies) Daylight Saving Time saves lives, prevents traffic injuries, and reduces crime. However, recent studies have shown negative impacts on people’s health and circadian rhythms because of time changes as well as a higher number of car crashes and workplace injuries in the days after a time change.

Think about it. It’s not surprising that the effect would be more negative. Clocks are man-made. Our circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats on each rotation of the Earth roughly every 24 hours. Whenever our basic circadian (daily) rhythms—the day/night cycle—are disrupted, it leads to slower thinking.

  • Studies have show that time changes result in a higher number of car accidents and heart attacks—the latter by as much as 24 percent.
  • Studies link the lack of sleep at the start of DST to workplace injuriessuicide, and miscarriages
  • In the workplace, studies have found that there is a decrease in productivity after the spring transition.
  • What about November, when you get an extra hour of sleep? The reality is that most people don’t sleep any extra. And the disruption in the body’s daily sleep-wake cycle can affect sleep for several days.

► See 5 tips to help your body to adjust to Daylight Saving Time.

Some argue it’s better for school children (not going to school in the dark).

  • However, in the fall, we’re all coming home in the dark!
  • Teenagers definitely don’t do well with DST during the spring change, when they lose an hour of morning sleep.

And consider the parents with small children; the kid that gets up a 5 a.m. will now be getting up the equivalent of 4 a.m. until their internal clock resets.

► See sunrise/sunset times in your area.

farmers-2343262_1280.jpg

A Movement to Eliminate Clock Changing

Since 2015, more than 200 bills and resolutions have been introduced in virtually every state to either stay on standard time or convert to full-time DST.

Until 2018, not much happened. Then, a movement began and there are now 13 states which have enacted legislation to provide for year-round daylight saving time. 

  • In 2018, Florida voted to make DST permanent. The Florida Sunshine Protection Act was passed in the state Legislature with overwhelming support for year-round daylight saving time. 
  • In 2018, California voters approved a proposition for year-round daylight saving time. But the proposition required a two-thirds vote of the California State Senate which was never brought to a vote because the federal government failed to give the state approval for the time change; the bill died.
    Unfortunately, the California State Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications did not bring AB 7 up for a vote and the bill died.”
  • In 2019, six more states passed legislation for year-round DST, if authorized by Congress: Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington. 
  • In 2020 so far, six MORE states have  Utah passed a bill to end the practice of “springing forward.“ Joining Utah are: Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming. 

So Far in 2020

As of September 1, 2020, at least 32 states have considered 85 pieces of legislation, and six states—Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming—have enacted legislation.

State Laws Superceded

Ultimately, it’s a federal decision. As discussed above, the time is set by the Uniform Time Act, which was established in 1966 for a synchronized DST schedule across the country.

When the Energy Policy Act extended the hours in 2005, Congress retained the right to revert back should the change prove unpopular or if energy savings are not significant. However, it now takes an act of Congress to make the change.

  • States are granted the right to opt out of observing daylight saving time—and remain on standard time—without any federal say (e.g., Hawaii). 
  • However, most states wish to stop switching the clocks and establishes DST as the official time year-round. This would require Congress to approve an amendment to the Uniform Time Act. 

While it’s unclear if Congress will approve of this amendment, it’s what more and more citizens want, based on state legislation. 

Bottom-line: Today, even if a state governor signs a bill into law, it remains the intent of Congress to supersede any and all laws of the States

astronomy-3217141_1280_full_width.jpg

Our European Counterparts

This brings us to our European contemporaries. They also practice Daylight Saving Time. For most of Europe, DST:

  • Begins at 1:00 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday of March
  • Ends at 1:00 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday of October

In March of 2019, the European Union voted actually voted in favor of abandoning seasonal clock changes! The draft law proposes that 2021 will be the last time EU Member States and affiliated countries will change their clocks. 410 members voted in favor of the draft, 192 were against, and 51 members abstained from voting.

However, as of this writing (October, 2020), plans for removing the time change have been pushed aside because of greater problems considering the COVID-19 pandemic and the long lasting Brexit negotiations, and time changes may therefore continue until 2022 or later.

Other countries have already ended seasonal clock changes, including Argentina (2009), Russia (2014), and Turkey (2016).

In conclusion, just as is the case with North Americans, the EU population overwhelmingly wants to abolish the clock changes during the year. In the case of the EU, member states would have the option to go permanently to summer (daylight) time or winter (standard) time. A poll was conducted in which 80% were in favor of eliminating the time change. The head of the European Commission, which originally drafted the directive to end DST, said, “It would be pointless to ask for people’s opinions and not act on it if you don’t agree with them.”
 

What do you think about Daylight Saving Time? Tell us in the comments below!

2021_engagement_calendar_winter_ad.png

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Keeping Daylight Saving Time all year round

Place this issue and the ballot and allow the public make the decision..........uniformity is vital!!!!!!
With Americans living all over the country it’s important to have some degree of uniformity............time zones of course would remain the same.......

Abandon DST permanently

As an Arizona resident, I would encourage simply abandoning DST completely. We never change our clocks and only have to make adjustments on calculating time differences with other states (except Hawaii). I hate getting up in the dark, but I'm happy to do it for a few weeks if I can see the sun set at a reasonable hour in the summer.

Day lights savings

We voted in Florida to eliminate this and we still waiting, is always an excuse from our representatives in congress to get the job done for we the people voted for, get this done and stop all excuses.

Time change

I would love to see the time remain the same all year long. It is very hard for my body to adjust. Preferably daylight time all year. I just don't think there is a valid reason for putting us all through the change twice a year.

Daylight Saving Time

PLEASE KEEP DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ALL YEAR FOR NEW JERSEY.

Keep daylight saving time ON

I HATE having darkness at 430pm !!!! Absurd !!! I get out of work and can't do anything productive outdoors. Why not MOVE the clocks FORWARD again in winter so we can actually fight the darkness hour. Then I can wake up to a sunrise and see a late sunset everyday !

Daylight Savings Time

It would be wonderful to have daylight savings time all year in California.

DST

Like seemingly everyone else here, I strongly support doing away with the twice yearly time change and instituting Daylight Savings Time permanently. Having more daylight available in the late afternoon/early evening is much more useful and helpful to most than early in the morning.

Leave it on DST

As a child when it got dark at 5pm I could barely keep my eyes open to do my homework. My grades were better in the Fall and Spring. As an adult getting home at 5pm to 6pm I was so exhausted from work I had to fight to stay alert driving home all the while inconsiderate selfish morons with their high beams on blinding me to the point it felt like daggers stabbing my eyes. I was fortunate in that my last agency I could start work at 6 to 6:30am. Getting off at 2:30pm I could go buy groceries, gym or etc. I felt like I had a life outside of work. When it gets dark so early and I had to work until 4:30pm or 5:00pm I just went straight home because it was dangerous with all these tired people racing to get home. When I lived in Florida for a number of years in the depths of winter it got dark at 6pm. For the first time in my life THAT FELT OK and normal on my brain. The only reason I could see Congress getting involved is so 50 states didn't have 50 different times to juggle. As Americans, PUT IT ON THE BALLOT and let Americans vote. What ever the outcome is what we adjust to and live by.

DST

Missouri needs to change clocks in March 2021 and never change again. Kids need the time even in winter to play outside.

Daylight Saving Time

I want to see Daylight Saving Time become permanent in Ontario. Changing the clocks twice a year is disrupting my schedule.

DST

Changing the time twice a year makes no sense. Either get rid of DST and let businesses change their operating hours with the seasons if it makes sense for them , or make daylight savings time permanent.

DST

I think we should keep Daylight savings time year round. The people who have a hard time seeing at night at driving brings their night to a end at 5:00pm. I would rather day more time to get things done after work.

DST

VIRGINIA, stay on DST beginning March 2021. Do not like driving home in the dark in the winter. Give me light. Also, I use more lights in the evening than I do in the morning time.

DST All Year

Please, North Carolina, legislate that we stay on DST 100% of the time!!

Keep DST YEAR ROUND!!

UGH - Enough of this. Come this Spring 2021 lets change the clocks and then never again!! Tired of it getting dark at 4:30 in the afternoon!

DST All Year

Sunrise at 4AM in June is just as ridiculous as sunset at 4PM in December. That is what standard time would give us in summer and currently gives us in winter. Daylight Savings year round is the answer. I would like to get off work and still have some daylight left on those winter evenings.
Christmas dinner at sunset rather than in the dark, eh?
As for the children, let them walk to school in the morning dark when their would-be abductors are still asleep. Let them play after school in the daylight when their would-be abductors are awake and waiting for cover of darkness.
Most crime happens in the evening, not the morning. Criminals are generally not early risers. The data spells this out clearly.
More daylight in the evening = less crime.

DST

It's so stupid our people have not revolted against DST. WHAT IF "the government bureaucrats" suddenly told us we'd have to change our clocks FOUR TIMES a year? What about EVERY MONTH? Would you do it?

This is a no-brainer. Unless you enjoy being a slave to stupid bureaucratic government rules/regulations... end it.

End DST now.

Daylight Savings Time Year Round!

EVERYONE is awake at 4:00 pm, but I bet less than HALF the population is up and about at 7:00 AM! Night owls, people!
Let’s stop the madness. Imagine, sun only goes down at 5:00 pm in December-January? That would be great!
Let’s never go back to Standard Time. Enough already. 2020 has been a time of unprecedented change, at least let’s make some of that change positive.
Go DST!
- Patrick Fulop

DST Leave it ALONE

It Simply does Not make sense to keep changing our clocks. I'm going to bet, that no less than 95% of people would rather have more light in the afternoons after work than a. Earlier sunrise. I mean, there is Only 24 hrs in every day, THAT cannot be changed. People get home in the afternoons, and have no time to do anything that needs doing before it is Dark. But they can't do those things in the mornings. Not only that, there are statistically many more people that get serious bouts of depression after the Fall time change☹. It being dark in the early afternoons, people use more electricity and are less productive. Just Leave the TIME ALONE! This next Spring, let's just spring forward and STAY!!!

Keep daylight savings time.

It makes absolutely no sense to keep flip flopping the time back and forth. It get dark naturally anyway, the earth moves farther from the sun causing it to get darker sooner, it is totally stupid and a waste of time. I think it’s the government showing how willfully they can control us as a people.

daylight saving time - not

I vote staying with the standard sun time. Let the earth and sun be themselves without people interference. We are, ultimately, only along for the ride on this planet, unless or until people blow up or destroy it. In the northern regions of the US, the mornings AND evenings eventually are dark in winter, regardless of Standard or DST. There is no way to change that unless one moves closer to the equator.

Keep DST

Keep current DST schedule but states that want permanent DST can move ahead to a new time zone without DST changes. In Cincinnati, Ohio permanent EDT would result in 9 AM sunrises in the winter like that that occurred in 1974 and before that 1943 during WWII. During WWII Ohio actually went from EWT to CWT likely because of the 9 AM sunrises during War Time. Congress suspended year round DST October 1974 to February 1975. However in the summer many people enjoy the 9 PM sunsets thanks to EDT. The reason for the 1966 Uniform Tie Act was the mass confusion when some observed with different starting and stopping dates.

DST

It’s stupid and annoying! However, whatever we do, we should do it nation-wide. We don’t need any more confusing crap in our lives at this point

DST

It’s stupid and annoying! However, whatever we do, we should do it nation-wide. We don’t need any more confusing crap in our lives at this point

DST

It’s stupid and annoying! However, whatever we do, we should do it nation-wide. We don’t need any more confusing crap in our lives at this point

Why change clocks

Year round consistency will never happen with the Feds running things. When was the last time they ever listened to the people?

Time change

End it in Delaware, its depressing to get dark so early and it will stay warmer longer, easier to drive that at night.
End it please

Daylight Savings Time

I agree with those that have responded - DST is HORRIBLE to put it lightly! It gets dark way too early - I can’t even take my dog for a walk after he finishes eating without bringing a flashlight so we don’t get run over! Not to mention, kids don’t have time to play and unwind when they get home from school. We are not living in the “dark ages” anymore (no pun intended, but.....) - let’s do away with this archaic belief that we need to “fall behind”. You would see a LOT more people being healthy - both physically and mentally if we had additional daylight time.

Daylight Savings!

Let's stick with Daylight Savings Time. Falling back is depressing with it getting dark so early. The day is too short and bleak. I've lived in many states- by far the worst is Northern Idaho and Eastern Wa.- sunset is about 3:45pm in Nov. Kids get off a school bus in the dark. It's terrible. Let's keep the sunshine later in the day! Stop the falling back!

Pages