More States Moving to Keep Daylight Saving Time Permanent

Plus, DST is NOT for Farmers!

October 29, 2020
Clock in Grass
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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.)

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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

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.

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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.

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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

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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 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!

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Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

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!

Daylight Savings Time

I hate when we fall back. Can't stand for it to be dark at 445. I wish it would just be left alone. People get more exercise when it's light longer, people get out more and shop when it's light longer. It's so hard going back and forth and for no reason at all. The 60s are long gone time for change.

DST

Here I thought it was the farmers' fault. Thank you for clarifying! Please keep the time the same. It is tough on everyone's circadian rhythm to mess with the clock. There are 24 hours in a day, and standard time vs DST will not change that.

Time Change

Just choose one or the other but stop this business of changing twice a year.

DST

Please leave the time as it is in Spring and Summer. Getting dark at 5:00 p.m. is so ridiculous! Much prefer more daylight in the early evenings to be outside after work/school. Get some outdoor exercise, fresh air, interaction with others. Also, a lot of retail businesses have changed hours since COVID and running errands a bit safer with daylight as most are open after 5:00 p.m. but not very early in the morning. (Before people have to get to school, work)

Re: DST

I would like and prefer that WA State stay on Permanent DST. It makes it so nice to be able to enjoy the days and evening of daylight. Hate it when we have to fall back each year and that it gets dark by 4:15pm.
Want Permanent DST in Washington State !

DST

Please, let's just stop the nonsense!! Leave well enough alone and stop the time change twice a year. There is enough stress in life to deal with let's not perpetuate more. :) A penny for my thoughts.

DST is CRAZY!

The time is supposed to reflect the sun's movements. DST was crazy in the first place, crazier when it was extended, and would be absolute madness if made permanent. Can we just have REAL time? Noon, the sun should be at it's highest for the day....how hard is that?

To think that you can cut one end off the blanket and sew it to the other end to make the blanket longer is pure foolishness.

Change clock 1/2 hour

How about a just changing the clock 1/2 hour and leaving it. that way everyone gets a little of what they want

Abolish Daylight Savings Time

Simply abolish DST!

STAYING on Daylight Savings Time year-round is a DUMB idea.
STAY on STANDARD time year-round to to get rid of the twice-a-year idiocy!
This avoids ADDITIONAL UNNECESSARY confusion for consistent translation to & from UNIVERSAL TIME that COMPUTERS & the ENTIRE WORLD use as the STANDARD REFERENCE!

Schools & businesses & any other affected entities at various LATITUDES can always tailor their hours of operation to suit their specific needs without forcing CLOCK changes on EVERYONE!

Ideally: Live by the time-of-day that works for YOU - It's a 24-hour-per-day planet.

DST

I don’t like walking in the dark after work. I also battle with changing my car clock twice a year. I know people that don’t even bother doing it because us such s pain (Subaru). I see no point in it. I vote to abolish it.

Daylight Savings Time

It's a good system as it is. Keeping Daylight Savings time all year round would result in kids walking to school in the dark for half of the school year, and that's a bad idea.

DST Always

Who mows their lawn or rakes leaves in the morning? Well, I'm sure SOME people do. However I'm sure most people working 9-5 would rather have a little daylight at the END of their work day. Let's work to make this happen!

Stop Changing the Time,

I actually prefer daylight saving time, it's easier to deal with getting up as the sun is about to come up, than having the dark come early, leaving work in the dark, feeding the animals in the dark, children coming home from school in the dark. Let's let this stupid idea go away. What a relief it would be!

DST year round

Can’t imagine the sun coming up at 4 AM in the summer, at 45 degrees, if we were to be on standard time year round. Love late summer evenings in the daylight. Natural answer is DST year round.

Daylight savings time

Please let us stay with one and stop all this changing back and forth!!

Stop changing the time!

It is very difficult for the millions of us that are taking medications. Some medication must be taken every two hours, or every four hours, etc. I just makes it that much harder to stay on track with our regimen.

DSL

DSL year round. After school activities. An extra hour that families can have for family fun. An extra hour to do things after work or school. An extra hour for those who cannot drive at night. By the way, farmers work from dawn to dusk. That is the only "natural" time. Time zones are constructs by society that make the most sense for their area. Many older seniors also have "sunset" closing down which will occur by the sun, not whatever time we have set.

Standard Time is Natural

I think Daylight Savings time is unnatural and should be abolished.

Daylight Investment Time

Saving used to be enough, but these days you just can't get anywhere at that rate. What we need is Daylight Investment Time to really make the most of our days. We should jump forward an hour (or two!) every year and NOT fall back. Thanks to the Time Value of Sun and with Light Compounding, as we accelerate we can actually reap the benefits of tomorrow TODAY! Imagine how fast we could progress if we set the clocks forward an hour every month!!!
"Permanent Saving Time" is ridiculous. It makes sense to have noon be when the sun is approximately overhead and midnight be when it is approximately underfoot; any other label is just arbitrary. Frankly, I'm tired not only of DST but of time zones in general and wish we'd all just settle on UTC.

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