More States Moving to Keep Daylight Saving Time Permanent

Plus, DST is NOT for Farmers!

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

Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November in the U.S. and Canada. In March, we “spring” forward and set clocks forward one hour. In November, we “fall” back and set clocks back one hour. Learn more about When Daylight Saving Time Begins and Ends

It’s a popular myth that Daylight Saving Time exists for farmers. This practice—which only became regular in 1966, suprisingly enough—was actually challenged by farmers and is being increasingly challenged by modern society today.

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

Latest Updates (March 2021)

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

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

Daylight Saving Time in the 1970s

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

The U.S. had Daylight Saving Time as early as 1918, but it was off and on. Namely, DST was briefly used during World War I and World War II to conserve fuel. It was used again for this purpose for a short while during the oil crisis of the early 1970’s under Nixon. (Read more about the checkered history of Daylight Saving Time.)

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Photo credit: Billion Photos/Shutterstock

Daylight Saving is NOT for Farmers

Despite the popular belief that Daylight Saving was a convenience created for farmers, DST has nothing to do with farming. In fact, farmers have often been the strongest lobby against the change. Farmers didn’t like DST when it was first introduced and most don’t like it to this day.

During the first World War I experiment in 1918, farmers were extremely opposed to having to turn back and forward their clocks. Not surprisingly, it disrupted their schedules and made it more difficult to get the most out of hired help.

Imagine telling a dairy cow used to being milked at 5 a.m. that their milking time needs to move back an hour before the milk truck is coming to do a pickup. For the farmer—and the plants and animals—it’s the sun and the seasons that determine the best times to do things.

After the war ended, the DST law (which lasted only 7 months) proved so unpopular with our agrarian society, the federal law was repealed in 1919. Some state and localities continued the observance, however. During another war, World War II, “War Time” was enforced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It introduced year-round Daylight Saving Time from February 9, 1942, to September 30, 1945. 

From 1945 to 1966, observance of DST was quite inconsistent across U.S. states. There were no uniform rules. This caused massive confusion with the transportation industry and the broadcasting industry, which pushed for standardization. The farmers, however, were still opposed to it.

To address this confusion, the Uniform Time Act was established in 1966.

DST Practices Today

The current enactment was part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation is the federal agency responsible for overseeing DST and the country’s time zones. All states but Hawaii and Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation) observe DST.

  • Hawaii abandoned the law in 1967. In Hawaii, the sun rises and sets at about the same time every day, so why bother?
  • Arizona followed suit in 1968. Not setting clocks forward gives residents lower temperatures during waking and bedtime hours. 

The territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not observe DST. Federal law allows a state to exempt itself from observing daylight saving time—upon action by the state legislature—but does not allow the permanent observance of DST.

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Photo Credit: Zaccio/Shutterstock

Does the Time Change Conserve Energy?

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

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Health and Safety

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

  • More daylight in evenings results in fewer car crashes and pedestrian accidents, better aligning with drivers’ standard work hours and increase visibility, according to the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Safety Research. 
  • It reduces the number of robberies by 27%, according to a 2015 Brookings Institution,
  • Studies have show that time changes result in a higher number of cardiac issues, stroke, and seasonal depression.
  • When clicks move back, there is a drop in economic activity and worker productivity of 2.2 percent – 4.9 percent, according to a study by JP Morgan Chase.
  • It would allow kids to play outside longer. During DST, children see an increase in physical activivty, which helps reduce childhood obesity and increase physical fitness, according to studies published by the International Journal Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and the Journal of Physical Activity and Health
  • The Journal of Environmental Psychology found that DST increased pedestrian activity by 62% and cyclists activity by 38% because of additional daylight.
  • Finally, it helps the farmers, without disrupting their agricultural and livestock schedules and their supply chain partners.
  • What about November, when you get an extra hour of sleep? The reality is that most people don’t sleep any extra. And the disruption in the body’s daily sleep-wake cycle can affect sleep for several days.

► See 5 tips to help your body to adjust to Daylight Saving Time.

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A Movement to Eliminate Clock Changing

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

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

  • In 2018, the Florida Sunshine Protection Act was passed in the state Legislature with overwhelming support for year-round daylight saving time. 
  • In 2018, California voters approved a proposition for year-round daylight saving time. But the proposition required a two-thirds vote of the California State Senate which was never brought to a vote because the federal government failed to give the state approval for the time change; the bill died.
    Unfortunately, the California State Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications did not bring AB 7 up for a vote and the bill died.”
  • In 2019, six more states passed legislation for year-round DST, if authorized by Congress: Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington. 
  • In 2020, Utah passed a bill to end the practice of “springing forward.“ Joining Utah were: Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Wyoming. 

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

It’s All Up to the Federal Government

The problem: A federal statue is require for any state to enact changes. As discussed above, the time is set by the Uniform Time Act, which was established in 1966 for a synchronized DST schedule across the country.

When the Energy Policy Act extended the hours in 2005, Congress retained the right to revert back should the change prove unpopular or if energy savings are not significant. However, it now takes an act of Congress to make the change.

  • States are only granted the right to opt out of observing daylight saving time—and remain on standard time—without any federal say (e.g., Hawaii). 
  • However, most states wish to stop switching the clocks and establishes DST as the official time year-round. This would require Congress to approve an amendment to the Uniform Time Act. 

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

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

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Our European Counterparts

This brings us to our European contemporaries. They also practice Daylight Saving Time. For most of Europe, DST:

  • Begins at 1:00 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday of March
  • Ends at 1:00 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday of October

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

Other countries have already ended seasonal clock changes, including Argentina (2009), Russia (2014), and Turkey (2016).

In conclusion, just as is the case with North Americans, the EU population overwhelmingly wants to abolish the clock changes during the year. In the case of the EU, member states would have the option to go permanently to summer (daylight) time or winter (standard) time. A poll was conducted in which 80% were in favor of eliminating the time change. The head of the European Commission, which originally drafted the directive to end DST, said, “It would be pointless to ask for people’s opinions and not act on it if you don’t agree with them.”
 

What do you think about Daylight Saving Time? Tell us in the comments below!

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Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

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.

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!!!

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