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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

DST Only!

Growing up in the northeast it was dark at 4:00pm much of the winter which was terrible. I live in the south now but still would be happy for more sun in the winter. So DST only please!

Day light savings time

I think that would be the *Worse thing to do keeping day light savings all year around.... Either be getting Too Close to the Sun, it's happening cause Earth is moving towards the moon... Either way "We The People Of United States" have every right to now the Whole Truth!!!... I Do Believe Congress have moi important matter's to deal with instead of Messing with our Timeline.. Congress asking you to Grow Up!....

Keeping DST year round

I would Love to stay on DST. It allows us to go out and do more in the evening. Able to prevent car accidents.
Safer when we go out, less crime. I have more energy. Doesn’t mess with my sleep routine and my help issues that require a regular sleep routine.

STOP!..SPRING FORWARD, FALL BACK

I vote for the time to stop change twice a year. Standard time only....

DST

Oddly in your article you list Florida’s legislation supporting year-round DST first, then leave Florida off the list of sixteen (not fifteen) states which have acted to support your-round DST!!! Make DST permanent!

Keep Standard Time permanent!

Permanent daylight saving time is a horrible idea. I live in California, where Pacific Standard Time only exists for four months of the year. With Pacific Daylight Time, I am actually in Mountain Standard time here in California. This doesn't make any sense. I used to live in Arizona where there is no Mountain Daylight Time. There is just Mountain Standard Time. There was no changing of clocks! In the Northern Hemisphere, the days are already getting longer, with more light each day. Permanent Daylight Saving Time is a very reactionary, and is not a progressive idea.

Let's think big and fix it all by running all the world on GMT

Why have time zones in the first place? The sun rises and sets completely oblivious to all our clocks and watches. Who is to say breakfast should be consumed at 7:00 AM and supper at 6:00 PM? Let's run the entire world on Greenwich Mean Time, or as it's now called UTC - it's how all the airlines in the world set their schedules. No longer will anyone need to wonder "What time is it in Sydney?" We will all be on the same time! If this sounds radical, consider that 27% of the population of the earth is in a single time zone UTC+8. GMT for all!

Hmmm....

I'm not sure how the thought hasn't occured to more people. In a world where technology rules, the BBD...right at your finger tips, and if a page doesn't load fast enough on a phone regularly, it's an immediate anger outburst. Not enough time in the day, wow-the-day-flew-by-so-quick... taking away (i.e. "jumping ahead") an hour of the day only, actually, reduces the days minutes by 60. Leaving the day with 60 less minutes to get anything done until winter comes around again. Whether it's sleeping, working, exercising, spending quality time with children or loved ones, we're doing an hour less of it every day in DST. It's simple math. You have 100 ch. chips. You have to divide them up between 10 muffins. But you decide it's best to put aside 10 for a different recipe and take the remainder and divide those up between the 10 muffins. There are less chocolate chips in each of the muffins now. They all look the same, cook the same, but you're shorted chocolate chips.
In the end it seems it also comes down to when you want your daylight. Circadian rhythms are associated with light and dark. The light wakes you up, the dark puts you asleep (very simply put). Light in the morning, dark at night. Since to be healthy, consistency is key, seems it would depend on when you have to be to work and wether you have kids. What is more important to you and to our general public overall. (Mostly our children and future in my personal opinion.) That should be what decides our permanent outcome.

**DST = jump ahead/lose an hour, spring to fall (summer months).

**Standard Time = regular time it's always been before DST was introduced, observed fall to spring (winter months).

DST permanently please

Here in the north, it's dark by 4 p.m. in December and January. That's 6 hours of darkness before bedtime. With Covid, we're all stuck inside at home for 6 hours waiting for time to go to bed. It throws our bodies off really badly and I've had two severe bouts of winter insomnia in the last 3 years. There's a 6 hour difference between the daylight hours in summer and the number of daylight hours in winter. That's hard for our bodies to handle and we struggle with seasonal affective disorder, but throw a time change twice a year in on top of that and it just makes it worse. Please have mercy on the northern part of the nation and grant us DST so we can actually see daylight after work in the evening in winter.

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