More States Moving to Keep Daylight Saving Time Permanent

Plus, DST is NOT for Farmers!

By Catherine Boeckmann
September 25, 2020
Clock in Grass
M.Vich/Shutterstock

As of this writing, 39 states have proposed legistation and nine states have enacted legislation to call for keeping daylight saving time year-round. Is it time to scrap this practice? Learn more about the myths of DST (it’s NOT for farmers), the latest news on states’ efforts, and weigh in with your thoughts!

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

When I grew up in the 1970s, Daylight Saving Time (DST) seemed popular. The government and schools seemed to promote it as a positive and beneficial force. When the clocks moved forward an hour in March, my mother would get a grumpy me out of bed and say, “Look! All you kids have more time after school to play outside!” (Yes, there was a time when more kids played outside.)

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

Before then, 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 in 1918, the DST law (which lasted 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 which 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.

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Photo Credit: Zaccio/Shutterstock

So, Who Benefits From 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?

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.  

Does DST really conserve energy? According to Congress, this is the main reason for the switch. When the Energy Policy Act extended the hours in 2007, Congress retained the right to revert back should the change prove unpopular or if energy savings are not significant. 

  • 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, where I live, the change to DST in 2006 actually cost us. 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 use 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.

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Our Bodies, Our Health

Energy isn’t the only thing to be considered. What about our health? Polls show that the switch between Daylight Saving Time and Standard Time each year is miserable for most humans.

Clocks are man-made. Changing the time disrupts our body clocks or circadian rhythm. For most people, the resulting tiredness is more of an inconvenience twice a year. For many folks, however, it’s a more serious issue.

  • Studies show that lack of sleep leads to more 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.

You could argue it’s better for school children (not going to school in the dark); however, I’d disagree.

  • 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. Parents will certainly lose sleep and spend weeks adapting twice a year—and studies show that their happiness levels are lower.

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A Movement to Elminate Clock Changing

Only Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands don’t spring forward or fall back. 

  • 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. 

► See sunrise/sunset times in your area.

As of 2020, 39 states have now proposed legislation to change their observance of Daylight Saving Time in some way, according to the Congressional Research Service.

In the past three years, 9 states have passed bills to stop the switching of clocks—and stay on permanent Daylight Saving Time, if Congress were to allow it.

  • In February 2020, Utah passed a bill to end the practice of “springing forward.
  • Maryland recently introduced a similar bill which will heard in committee on March 5, 2020. 
  • In January, 2020, South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill to make daylight savings time permanent.
  • California also has a bill which will be put to a vote in 2020.
  • In June, 2019, Oregon also passed a bill to keep the state on permanent daylight saving.
  • A bill in Washington State also proposes year-round daylight saving.
  • Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Washington, and Tennessee also passed bills in 2019.
  • In 2018, the Florida Sunshine Protection Act was passed in the state Legislature with overwhelming support for year-round daylight saving time.
  • Some states in New England—Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island all have bills in the works to adopt year-round “Atlantic standard time,” a zone that lies to the east of Eastern standard time, and opt out of daylight saving.

See a map showing pending and enacted bills in 2020 for all the United States

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.

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 stay on daylight saving 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 people 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

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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 2019, the European Union voted to remove Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanently by 2021.

Each member country will have until April 2020 to decide whether to remain permanently on “summer time” or to change their clocks back one final time to permanent standard time, also known as “winter time.”

Other countries have already ended DST:

  • Argentina stopped daylight saving in 2009.
  • Russia ended its daylight saving in 2014.
  • Turkey ended DST permanently in 2016.

Just as is the case with North Americans, the EU population overwhelmingly wants to abolish DST. A poll was conducted in which 80% were in favor of eliminating it.

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

Time change

It amazes me that people think they are getting more "daylight" with daylight savings time. Nature only has a set amount of daylight during the year. The days get longer during the summer either way pushing the clock ahead an additional hour is pointless and just a hassle. The clocks need to stay standard time stop the spring forward nonsense.

Daylight savings time

The State of California voted to stay on daylight saving time in 2019. The feds were supposed to vote on it during the summer of 2020. Apparently they were too busy fighting and finger pointing to resolve it.

Meantime, the House in California approved it last year, but the idiots in our Senate could not be bothered. Too busy taking vacation or finding issues to fight about like the feds??

They probably do not have to get up in the morning and go to work so they don't care like us working stiffs. I AM SICK OF THE TIME CHANGING AS ARE OTHERS AND IT NEEDS TO STOP!!!!!

Daylight Savings Time

I wish we would stay on summer time so I can have more daylight during the winter months to get things done on my property. And would be nice if Rush hour traffic wasn't at night during the winter. Tired of my sleep schedule getting out of whack. I literally see no pros in keeping it.

Daylight savings time

Keep daylight savings time year round.

it doesn't matter if we change the clocks or not

it doesn't matter if we change our clocks or not. The bottom line is we can't change what Mother nature or how the sun orbits around the sun. The days are still going to get longer or shorter, there's more important things that needs to be done is this country rather than debating if we should change our clocks back or forward . There's always gonna be an increase in auto accident, heart Attacks , and other health problems. I think this is Ludacris.

DST

Daylight savings had no ties directly to farmers that rise and set with sun not clock. However, as children walked rode horses or bicycle to school the extra morning light made more visible and warmer as sun up. Today kids have buses live near a school or drive so earlier sun rise has little purpose but later sun sets allows more after school light for sports etc.

Time change

No. Keep DST

PermanrntvDST

I like year round DST. Please keep it year round.

Daylight savings time

Please Leave the daylight savings time. Do not change the time again PLEASE!!! It is the most DEPRESSING time ever when the time changes. If it changes to the other time I have to go to work in the dark and get off in the dark. I hate this time of the year for this very reason. Please please vote to keep this time!! Please!!!!

Time

I think the time should not change . Daylight saving s has no use in our society.It is a pain with no advantages.

DST

I say do away with it permanently. We don't want it.
Winter time is our natural time.

KEEP DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME PERMANENT

There are many more advantages to having Daylight Saving Time year round! When people get home from work or school, the extra evening daylight means more time to get things done at home, outside, including exercise time for both kids and adults, which means better health for everyone. Extra evening daylight also means more time for shopping, recreational activities, sporting events, and family gatherings which includes outdoor events like barbecues, which is good for the economy. Why is it that Daylight Saving time occurs 8 out of 12 months of the year? Because DST is the preferred choice! If you are worried about kids waiting for the school bus in the dark, then move the school start times forward one hour! Problem solved! WE WANT DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME MADE PERMANENT IN THE U.S.

DST

It's been more than annoying to have to change our clocks twice a year and have to spend days of not weeks adjusting to the time change. It serves no purpose. Someone start a petition. I'll gladly sign it.

Standard or Daylight? People's Location is the Issue

I definitely feel with the majority and vote yes to ceasing the spring/autumn time change! However, I can see the main people are having with which time; Standard or Daylight Time!! I lived in many locations in the states, and I had experienced being on the extreme edges of Eastern Time up Maine. To growing up on the western edge in Ohio also on Eastern. Also the same experience living in Chicago, on the eastern edge of Central Time. Then on to Arizona with no changing the clocks, which I loved, and I definitely understand why they opted out of DST I was happy to see the blazing sun set at 7:35pm!! However, in the winter, seeing the sun still up after 5pm was definitely a plus!!! By the way, in Portland, Me in the darkest day of winter, the sun sets at around 4:03pm which I understand why they would want to switch to Atlantic Time!

This is a complex situation, and while I dislike the changing of the clocks, I do prefer to leave them forward. Finally, referring to the time and schools. I feel if we were to leave the clocks on DST, since we're on DST longer than standard, why not have the schools begin an hour later?

DST MUST STOP

It’s been an absolutely ridiculous rule each year. Finally, with COVID-19 wrecking havoc on every part of life, this needs to be the final straw. We don’t need yet another intrusion into an already chaotic and challenging time.

DST

Pick one and stick with it. I don't care which one. If it's dark when school starts then change the time school starts.

STOP it!

The same things can be accomplished with stayng in spring back mode. The chaneges mess up my chedule, and I absolutely HATE it!

Stop DST

Daylight Savings Time should be stopped. We actually change our store hours to stay on Standard Time. It is very annoying. I hate that children have to wait in the dark for the school bus when they should be safe at home. Trying to get young children to settle down so they can go to bed at a reasonable time when the sun is still out is difficult at best. Why should they be expected to go to sleep when the sun is out and get up when it's dark. That makes no sense. If you ever tried to teach someone about a sundial or how to estimate the time by the sun they would be totally confused. Please just stay on Standard Time.

DST

Get rid of it!!! Go back to "winter time" and stay there. NO more moving clocks forward.

Get rid of DST

I think we need to get rid of Daylight Savings Time. We don't need it and changing back and forth to Standard Time messes everyone up. At the very least, pick one or the other and stick with it. No. More. Changing!

DST

I think DST should be done away with. It’s hard on people who have depression and need more light. I believe it does save on energy. You would not be using lights as much as you do due to being daylight longer. I believe people would be much happier. It’s just a nuisance as far as I can see. PLEASE CHANGE IT FOR ALL STATES!!!

Daylight savings time or not

I hope we opt out and permanently be stay on winter time. Eastern standard Time. Numbet One I think that is the correct time, and it t stays lighter longer on it's own so it doesn't make sense for that reason .plus it disrupts farmer s and the animals way too much.

DST

Either we stay on permanent standard time or change the start and end dates of DST. I think the start date for DST should be the last sunday of April and the end date should be the last sunday of Oct. that's the way it used to be and everyone was happy with that. Another suggestion is to have summer time. We would shift the clocks forward one hour on Memorial day weekend then shift them back on Labor day weekend.The way they do it now is not working. The start date of beginning of March and the end date the beginning of November is rediculous. I say just stay on standard time all year long and forget it.

DST

I wish they would leave the time alone one way or the other! This Spring forward and Fall back is ridiculous. We elect our Senators and put them in office to be our voice's and change the thing's were not happy with. I guess there not listening.

How About We Compromise?

Some of these replies are confusing because they interchange the name, DST, for the act of changing our clocks twice a year, with the period of time when we are 1 hour later than "Standard Time" which is the true "Daylight Saving Time"....... A lot of the comments that I've read here talk about inconvenience especially in states with year-round warmer climates; but, here in NY, when we change the clocks back 1 hour it is almost unbearable for some people. The winters are cold and when you pair that up with it getting pitch dark by 4:30 in the afternoon it not only causes inconvenience and fatigue, it causes mental anxiety. If you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), it reeks havoc on your life. You're leaving for work in pitch darkness and leaving work for home with the stars out and the moon already up. No sunlight also means no absorption of Vitamin D which the body uses not only for strong bones, BUT also, along with B12, for a healthy nervous system. I know some people will say hogwash; but, you have no idea. Those 5 months are depressing and filled with anxiety. Once we switch to DST, it's like a light at the end of a tunnel. The chance of temps. below freezing has wound down; along with the chance of snow; you begin to open your windows for a while each day; the air is easier to breathe; then, when you add the extra daylight, it's completely like icing on the cake. Flowers begin to come out and full-blown spring is right around the corner!! That extra bit of sunlight, which gradually increases, is life-changing. Yet even though it is my true hope that we switch to permanent DST; I would be willing to go along with the idea of a compromise!! To help everyone to feel "counted", maybe we should go back 1/2 an hour in the fall (since we already did "spring forward") and leave it at that. It would easier for everyone to "adjust" and the "inconvenience" for all would only be 30 minutes; not a whole hour!!

Daylight Savings Time

Stop messing with our time. I vote for permanent standard time, as was intended. When we "fall back" this year, PLEASE make that the last time the clocks change. The change, in whichever direction it goes, messes with my body clock causing me to be exhausted and "off" for at least two weeks while I try to adjust. I have more migraines during the adjustment period. I have a heart condition requiring a daily dose of medication twice a day. That drug must be taken at the SAME TIME each day. Congress needs to do America a favor and put our time back to permanent standard time and then LEAVE OUR TIME ALONE.

Uniform Time Laws

Stop changing the time twice a year. Supposedly, we live in a data-driven world; data indicates no one likes changing; car wrecks & heart attacks increase during change times; the change wreaks havoc with real-life schedules for babies, animals, people. Surely Congress could pretend to act bipartisan on this issue on which virtually everyone agrees.

Daylight time

There is no "saving " of daylight. Eliminate the time change.

Daylight Savings Time

Ponder this. If you take and cut off 1 foot of a blanket and sew it on to the other end is the blanket longer! I'm all for leaving the time alone, no seasonal switching.

Let's not stop there

Yes, let's do away with DST, but let's not stop there. Let's do away with time zones. Let the world all use one standard time, such as Greenwich Mean Time. We shouldn't have to worry about what time zone we're in when traveling, or arranging for someone to pick us up from the airport being on the same clock we are, or when trying to call someone on the opposite coast. It's just a matter of getting used to a different format for the time you go to work or come home, etc. You'll get used to going to work at 3 AM even though that would normally be called 8 AM using today's standards.

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