More States Moving to Keep Daylight Saving Time Permanent

Plus, DST is NOT for Farmers

By Catherine Boeckmann
March 8, 2020
Clock in Grass
M.Vich/Shutterstock

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

It’s a popular myth that Daylight Saving Time is for farmers. This practice—which only became regular in 1966 (which may also surprise you!)—was challenged by farmers and is increasingly being 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 possessions. 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—and then there was a short stint 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 popular belief, 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 broadcatsting 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 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 it 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.

As of this today, 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 so (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!

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

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.

If we remove DST, which time should we use?

It's interesting how divided the comments are on this are on this. It seems like MOST of us want the switching to to stop, but we there is a LOT of disagreement which way to go:
1) Keep DST permanently, or
2) Keep non-DST permanently.

I favor keeping DST permanently; I love the sun out as late as possible in the evening, and I don't care when if that results in very dark mornings during the Oct-Feb months (in the Northern hemisphere, of course; it's reversed for the summer hemisphere.)

And, according to the article, most people, both in the U.S. as well as the E.U., prefer this approach; they call it "permanent Summer Time" in Europe.

But I read many comments on this page in which others HATE that idea; that are "morning people," and they want that sun out as early as possible.

So, maybe that's part of why we keep DST; people are annoyed at the changing, but I wonder how much MORE annoyed people would get if DST was removed, but the permanent time was NOT what they wanted it to be?

For me, I would prefer to keep DST if the alternative was to NEVER have the later sunsets that DST provide. I would support getting rid of DST *ONLY* if we adopted permanent DST. I do *NOT* want to lose those sunlight hours in the evening. I would prefer the annoyance of switching clocks.

This past weekend, I celebrated the loss of an hour's sleep, because it meant the sun would be out for an hour longer in the evening.

Come October, I will mourn the "gaining" of an hour's sleep, because to me, it really means I have to start dealing with dreary, dreadful, winter days a-coming, when the sun has set even before I leave work in the evening. I simply hate that!

I know, I know: I should live on the equator!
LOL!
Maximum sunlight all year round!

Alternatively, I should live in the westernmost city of whatever time zone I am in; that would give me the most amount of sunlight in the evening. But, we all can't pick where we get to live! (Maybe when I am retired....)

Daylight savings time

There are so many kids that ride the school bus & they would be standing out in the dark alone.
Therefore for the safety of our children I highly recommend NO daylight savings time. March 9, 2020.

Daylight savings time

Waste of time. The sun doesn't change and standard time is consistent. Just stop flipping back and forth and disrupting lives.

Daylight Savings Time

I guess my simple question is this: if Arizona, Hawaii, Purto Rico, USVI, Guam, and American Samoa have opted out of 1966 law, why can't all states opt out? This action would seem to send the strongest signal to Washington to repeal that obsolete law.

DST LOVE IT, KEEP IT

From this farmer, and most of the surrounding farmers I know, we all want to keep DST. I want to have the evening daylight. It doesn't bother my animals one bit, nor my body. My domesticated animals love spending as much time outside in the evenings with me. Keep it, keep it, keep it.

Day light savings time..

I would rather be on the sun time. The real time. (God's Time) changing the clock is not worth All the truble it causes.

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME

I vote for doing away with it all together. Logic tells us we are going to lose on one end or the other. We just get to the point where the sun doesn't hit us square in the face when we start out in the morning, then BAM - daylight savings hits and there is the sun smack in the face again. I think it's one of the worst ideas ever thought up!

Daylight Savings

I would like to eliminate daylight savings time. There is no justifiable reason to observe it. The tip offered in 5 tips to adjust to daylight savings time to let the sun shine in by opening the curtains. My question is what sun is shining at 5am in the morning when the clocks are switched? Now I will have to wait for the sun at 7 which is of no benefit because I'm leaving for work. I'd prefer the extra hour of daylight in the morning than in the evening. Now I have to wait until June before I get that extra daylight to start the day. It's totally unnecessary and serves no purpose except to upset our internal clocks. If my vote mattered, I would choose standard time year round and I hope the powers that be consider the input of the constituents in Virginia.

DST

I strongly dislike it. It costs us more in electricity as we are early risers & are ready to go to bed by 9 or 10 o’clock. I am outside by 6:30 or 7 but with DST I am inside twiddling my thumbs, waiting for enough daylight to safely walk my dogs. Stupid idea! Just stay on Standard time, PLEASE!!!

Daylight Savings Time

There is no need to change clocks back and forth twice a year. It's useless. Just leave the clocks alone.

Standard Time Year-Round, Not DST

My local congressman and our U. S. Senators have all come to the conclusion that it is DST that everyone wants year-round. Well, I don't. No one ever asks their survey questions in a way that includes Standard Time as a possibility. Of course, most people would prefer not to change their clocks, watches, etc., back and forth. Staying on Standard Time accomplishes that without the extremes of dark mornings and light bedtimes.

Stop changing the time!

Indiana does not need to change twice a year!

Daylight Savings Time

I don't like DST. It's disruptive & generally just not needed. I always thought it was for farmers. If not then I say end it.

DST

Love it! Utah went to DST for 2020 today 3/8 & I'm really hoping the bill for year-round DST can be put in practice depending on surrounding states. I'm not a morning person but I'd rather garden than breathe so longer evening daylight is a blessing. Being on the western side of mountain time zone is a plus for me, DST or not.

Daylight Savings Time

I hate Daylight Savings Time, and it should be abolished as we already have plenty of time to spend in the sunshine. This is hard on everyone, especially school children who are standing along dark roadways waiting for the bus to pick them up. This is dangerous to their wellbeing and safety. As the liberals and globalists are so concerned about climate change, they should push to end DST and go back to Standard Time year round. It's all about the money, and the government's desire to play Almighty God by changing God's order of things, even time.

Leave it alone, already!

Why would Pacific time zone have to "move ahead" to the Mountain time zone? Leave it in the Pacific zone and no jumping around!

Just stop already...

I don't care which on they choose, let's just enjoy each season and be done with it. I'm a 65 y.o. who lives in N.E. Ohio.
I like the seasons. I just don't like the time changes anymore. Never did really. Just learned to live
with it.

Just drop DST and stick to

Just drop DST and stick to Standard Time! Business hours can be changed to make the best of the type of commerce. Plants and animals-including humans-not so much. (Sorry, but changing how everyone else has to manipulate their schedules twice a year because you don't work or have kids in school and want to sleep in instead of doing your chores is just selfish. My kids have to be on the bus in the dark most the school year as it is, and just as it starts to be light in the mornings, Boom! DST. Not even taking into account my husband's work hours, or my livestock) How are we to have any idea what time it is in another place- even within our own nation, much less the world- if every state has it's own time changes?

Daylight Savings Time

There are way too many harmful statistics that are caused by switching back and forth on time. Why on earth would we keep it and when will we ever get our lazy congress to vote on this to leave it at DST all year round? Isn't that what we pay our taxes for and vote them in to listen to the American public's wishes? This is a NO BRAINER!

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