More States Moving to Keep Daylight Saving Time Permanent

Plus, DST is NOT for Farmers!

March 10, 2021
Clock in Grass
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Last week, a group of bipartisan senators reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act, legislation that would make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent across the country. This push to end the practice of clock-changing twice a year has been gaining momentum the past few years. Here’s the latest news on the time change.

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. Learn more about When Daylight Saving Time Begins and Ends

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 today.

The reasons that DST was started (as a wartime effort over a century ago) are now antiquated and many Americans find the twice-a-year “time change” makes little sense. In addition, there are many studies that show the negative impact of biannual time changes and the benefits of a year-round Daylight Saving Time.

Latest Updates (March 2021)

In March 2021, a bipartisan bill called the “Sunshine Protection Act of 2021” was submitted for consideration in the U.S. Senate. The bill aims to end the time change and make DST permanent across the United States. Bottom-line, the bill would simply negate the need for Americans to change their clocks twice a year. 

The bill has been co-sponsored by eight senators—both Democrats and Republicans—so chances are good that it will at least be considered. If you support this change, consider contacting your state’s senators to let them know!

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.)

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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.

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Photo Credit: Zaccio/Shutterstock

Does the Time Change Conserve Energy?

  • Department of Energy report from 2008 found that during the 4 weeks the U.S. extended daylight savings from the 2005 law, there were savings of about 0.5 percent in electricity per day. Later studies have also shown that the energy savings are minimal but a small savings does occur.

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Health and Safety

Energy isn’t the only thing to be considered. What about our health and safety? 

  • More daylight in evenings results in fewer car crashes and pedestrian accidents, better aligning with drivers’ standard work hours and increase visibility, according to the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Safety Research. 
  • It reduces the number of robberies by 27%, according to a 2015 Brookings Institution,
  • Studies have show that time changes result in a higher number of cardiac issues, stroke, and seasonal depression.
  • When clicks move back, there is a drop in economic activity and worker productivity of 2.2 percent – 4.9 percent, according to a study by JP Morgan Chase.
  • It would allow kids to play outside longer. During DST, children see an increase in physical activivty, which helps reduce childhood obesity and increase physical fitness, according to studies published by the International Journal Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Journal of Physical Activity and Health
  • The Journal of Environmental Psychology found that DST increased pedestrian activity by 62% and cyclists activity by 38% because of additional daylight.
  • Finally, it helps the farmers, without disrupting their agricultural and livestock schedules and their supply chain partners.
  • 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.

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A Movement to Eliminate Clock Changing

This movement is fairly recent. Since 2015, more than 200 bills and resolutions have been introduced in virtually every state to either stay on standard time or convert to year-round DST.

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

  • In 2018, 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, Utah passed a bill to end the practice of “springing forward.“ Joining Utah were: Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Wyoming. 

As of March 2021, fifteen states — Arkansas, Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming — have passed laws, resolutions or voter initiatives for permanent DST, and dozens more are looking. 

It’s All Up to the Federal Government

The problem: A federal statue is require for any state to enact changes. 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 only 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. 

If the re-introduced Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 was passed by the Senate, it would indeed negate Standard Time, which only lasts between November to March, when Americans turn their clocks back one hour. Americans would keep DST, which currently lasts from March to November, and wouldn’t have to change their clocks twice a year. 

Only time will tell if this bill gains enough traction to pass, but public opinion seems to be in favor. The bill has the support of at least eight senators—both Democrats and Republicans—right from the start, so chances are good that the bill will be considered. If you’re interested in showing your support, consider contacting your state’s senators and voicing your opinion!

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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 2018, European Parliament drafted a law to permanently remove biannual clock changes in the European Union. The law proposed that 2021 would be the last time EU Member States and affiliated countries would follow the seasonal clock change.  However, due to COVID, the plans for removing the time change have been postponed. 

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!

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Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

STOP THIS FALL BACK SPRING FORWARD NONSENSE

Being that its daylight time in New York for 8+ months of the year its just easier to keep daylight time year round. Since daylight time went to 8+ months back in 2007 I kept my clock on year round daylight time since then. In fall I don't bother to fall back. For winter I get to work at 8am EDT which 9am EST. Other times of the year I get to work at 9am EDT. I DVR most of my TV programming and watch it when I feel like it. My co workers during winter call it Tommy Time. For winter I just ignore standard time and it works great for me. Someday government will catch up and see that fall back spring forward is a waste of time.

Keep DST

I enjoy and need the extra hour on the Farm, I can't stand Standard Time cause it gets dark before I get off work, so when I get home I have to feed in the Dark.. Anyone who is against DST is most likely lazy and wants it darker so they can sleep all the dam time.

DST

The time change of DST is not observed in a part of Indiana, also.

TIME CHANGE

I support keeping STANDARD TIME permanent. Many people leave for work early and with DST, they are having to leave for work in the dark. It is better to have it lighter in the morning, when people are rushing to get to work. It is also an incentive to get up earlier and start the day. It still stays light in the early evening anyway during standard time during the summer and spring months. This also varies depending on where one lives. What is the point to prolong daylight later. There was an old saying early to bed, early to rise.....something to the effect...makes one wealthy, healthy and wise. It is more difficult getting up for work when it is still really dark and going to sleep at night when it is still light out.

No clock changing

Same time year round, no clock changing, is easier for everybody. DST or Standard Time, either is fine with me. My husband likes DST better because he can come home from work and watch the sunsets with me :).

DST.

Keep DST in Michigan. For the sake of everyone

Daylight Saving Time

I would rather have the same through the year. Changing the clocks back and forth is more of a hassle than anything else. When you get up in the morning and go to work in the dark then work in side a manufacturing facility with no windows work till 5:00 P.M., then come out of work and it is already starting to get dark or is dark. It becomes depressing. Then you have the holidays , family gatherings, and winter and the snow. My opinion stop the switching . Make the same time year around.

Keep more day

I would love to stay on Daylight saving time. I would have more light to get groceries, do yard work, run last minute errands, and the like after work (5 pm)! It will not be dark when I leave work and that's worth it for my vote.

Daylight Saving time

Contrary to this article that says Daylight savings is safer because more daylight means less accidents.. regardless if you turn your clocks forward or backwards, the amount of daylight is based on your location on the earth and the tilt of the axis. The amount of day light does not change because you changed your clock
With that said.... stop changing the clocks and leave it at one time throughout the year.

Abolishing the Time Change

I am definitely in favor of stopping the time change!

Raise the full $3.5 trillion by making the wealthy and corporati

Ditch DSL once and for all time !
Standard time aka "real time" .

Time change

Time change needs to stop simple

Keeping DST

The writer did not mention the monetary cost of changing the time. I worked in IT in healthcare for 40 years and changing the time forward and then back is a big deal and I’m sure it is in may other fields. When you are processing transactions that require an accurate time stamp, the time change has to be carefully planned and initiated. It generally requires many man hours to plan and execute. When you have multiple outside systems that feed information into your system, you have to be certain that the internal clocks on the external systems match your clock. It the clocks are off, it’s the equivalent of throwing a monkey wrench into the processes.Please pass year long DST

Time change

I get up at the same time everyday, so i like light in the early morning hours. Its really hard to get up when it stays dark in the morning and light when i go to bed. So i would rather have the light early in the morning

THE WORLD NEEDS 2! NOT CHANGE THE TIME!! WHAT WILL HAPPENE

KEEEP! DLST THE WORLD

Keep Daylight Saving Time

I like that extra hour. The fussing and complaining every time we have to change is getting tiring and old, why not just leave Daylight Saving Time as it is, and it is not Daylight Savings Time, it is Daylight Saving Time. KEEP DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME, PERIOD.

Daylight Savings Time

I wish they would pass this bill instead of fooling around and fighting all the time. Daylight Savings should be kept permanent. It would make life so much easier for everyone.

Daylight savings

We need to stay in the daylight savings time. Changing twice a year is a pain. We could use the extra light and time.

Daylight saving time - Summer time.

Why mess with the clocks at all? Why don't people get up earlier or later as it suits them, same with going to bed? Schools can be scheduled to be open during daylight hours, with an allowance for travel, in each particular season. As far as more play time is concerned, since we're no longer an agrarian society, our children have too much time off in the summer anyway that would be better spent on reading, writing and arithmetic. Noon (the 'meridien') is the time when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Leave it that way.

I SUPPORT the NO Change. ENDING the changing the clocks

changing the clocks ruins my sleep pattern I have if I have.... at the moment.

Day light savings time

Most people are just Happier coming home to more light, when people are happier they seem less agitated, and less depressed .
Personally I prefer a permanent Daylight Savings Time!

Keep DST all year

The light is best used end of the day... not everyone gets up early to the point of using the time in the morning... having more light at the end of the day in winter is far more useful for the majority of people. And the whole notion that Standard Time is "right" by some biological sense is goofy... what time of day is what hour is a human notion... the sun doesn't tell us "This is 6am"; some human came up with the definitions and passed it on.

When the clocks change back in the fall it is sad because it is an hour of light lost... for many months it means most of us leave a first shift work day in darkness.

Permanent DST is harder during winter the more it is northern

I'm living in Turkey that switched to permanent DST a few years ago. Turkey is located around longitude of 39 degrees (corresponds to a little bit of north of mid USA). During winter children are having hard time waking up and going to school while the sun is not set yet and everywhere is still dark. Also many working class people are facing depression because of going to work while it is still dark like night. It becomes worse in bigger cities like Istanbul or Ankara (consider New York for example).

Yes, children get some outdoors play time in the evening but it is not that useful because going that north, winters start to be really cold for outside play, especially in inner regions. I wonder if that worths waking the children and working people up in the dark.

Another very important point is, in winter while permanent DST allows business owners to save energy while it causes households to consume more energy. Because households need to use their lights when preparing for school or work in the morning. Permanent DST in winter is more like transferring where energy is spent from businesses to households. It is not that energy friendly when you transfer energy consumption of a single business to many households of their works. But it still goods look if you only consider the profitability of businesses, where workers spend more instead of them.

Clock Changing

The process of switching clocks forward and back unfortunately still make sense in a number of northern locations in the US. In certain locations further south, not so much. The problem is complicated by the fact that by going by geography some locations in the US (such as Indiana and Michigan which should both be in the Central Time Zone) are in the wrong time zone.

Example where it makes sense: NYC. Its shortest daytimes sees the sun rises at about 7:20 AM and set at roughly 4:30 PM. Its longest daytimes see the sun rise at about 5:30 AM and set at about 8:30 PM. If we use DST year round, the sun would rise at 8:20 AM during the winter. If we use EST year round, the sun will rise at about 4:30 AM. When the US had DST year round in the 70s, a common objection raised was that children were going to school in the dark during the winter.

Examples where changing the time does not makes sense: Dallas. Its shortest daytimes sees the sun rises at about 7:30 AM and set at roughly 5:40 PM. Its longest daytimes see the sun rise at about 6:20 AM and set at about 8:40 PM. If we use DST year round, the sun will rise at about 8:30 AM during the winter. However, if we use CST year round, the sun will rise at about 5:20 AM in the summer and set at about 7:40 PM. Dallas, like most of Arizona is typically very hot in the summer. The temperatures aren't quite as high as most of Arizona but it experiences higher humidity. For states such as Texas and Oklahoma, which experiences these hot summers, staying on CST year-round makes the most sense.

In short, based on geography the practice of changing the clocks forward and back should be kept in certain areas but not others.

Clock changing

Let's stop changing the clocks let's leave to daylight saving time all year round

Make Standard Time permanent

Please look at the real history of permanent DST. It always fails and is not healthy. Standard Time is the natural and healthy choice since it is based on the natural rhythm of the sun. Make Standard Time permanent.

Please Give Me Light

The darkest and coldest days of the year are the hardest to work on a farm. The water is frozen and the ground is too. Daylight Saving Time in winter would force me to work my farm nearly three hours before sunrise since I am a full time educator "by day." This would be the equivalent of working the farm at 2:30 am in June, which no one would ever thinks makes sense. Yet that's the reality construction workers, ag workers, and any others who are outside (include child bus riders) would be forced to contend with if DST were further extended. It's bad enough as it is, in March and October. Let's not make things worse. It's not all about the sunset, folks. Winter days are simply shorter no matter what the clock says.

Science and history support permanent Standard Time, not DST.

With all due respect, please look deeper into this issue. Permanent DST is promoted by cherry-picked studies from lobbyists for golf and retail to increase spending. It is opposed by advocates for health, safety, education, and civil liberties—including the National Safety Council, National PTA, and American Academy of Sleep Medicine—who endorse instead permanent Standard Time. Standard Time is the real time, defined by the sun. DST darkens and shortens mornings, when farmers need light most. More information is at SaveStandardTime.com, and I’d be glad to converse directly by email or phone. Thank you!

Correction to article for clarity

Your article states, “In 2020, Utah passed a bill to end the practice of “springing forward”.”

If they wanted to stop springing forward, that means they would stay on standard time. But reading on in the article, you can surmise that is NOT what they want. They want to spring forward and stay there, keeping DST as their time year round. They don’t want to end the practice of springing forward, they want to end the practice of falling back.

As much clarity as possible could only help this debate, as I have read numerous comments on this article alone where people are arguing a particular side, but are actually misnaming their argument so that they are arguing for the side they are opposed to, all because they don’t know which is which, DST or standard.

Thank you for your consideration, and for providing this information.

For the record, I haven’t decided if I’m pro DST or standard, but I do want to stop changing the clock.

Keep Standard Time

Make the kids get up earlier if they want to play more. It's also safer to be on standard time. When kids are outside waiting for the bus, at 7:00 AM, on Standard time, it's already light out and therefore kids are not as likely to be hit by cars. During daylight savings time, it's still dark at 7 AM. Plus, you don't really get more sunlight. People who want more sunlight is really going to feel like retards if this passes when December 21st comes and they find out that it's dark by 6 PM anyway.

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