More States Moving to Keep Daylight Saving Time Permanent

Plus, DST is NOT for Farmers!

March 10, 2021
Clock in Grass
M.Vich/Shutterstock

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

Stop daylight saving time

Just leave the clocks alone. I'm tired of losing an hour of sleep. It seems like it comes earlier every year. Just stay on standard time. It gets lighter every day all by itself without changing the clocks. Why do we think we can adjust nature? Stupid ideas by politicians

DST

I'm for the midwest moving to the eastern time zone so we can have more daylight in the evening for us outdoor types.

DST

I would prefer to not use DST at all, totally eliminate it. It is too hard for my family to adjust to the challenge twice a year. Our internal clock is off for weeks. Makes it hard to get on the new schedule. It feels like we've lost more than just one hour, it feels more like 24 hours.

Day light savings time.

It is a foolish and annoying practice. It servers no valid use. Indiana had stopped for years but, then Governor Mitch Daniels restarted it because he said that businesses in other states could not figure out the time in Indiana and that cost lost business and money. Such nonsense.

DLST

If it takes an act of Congress to rectify the mess they created that you're not happy with, then act pleased. Tell them how satisfied you are and what a wonderful job they did. Then they will change it in a week!

DST

Please STOP spring forward and fall back! Pick one and stick to it. Personally, a real problem for me physically and mentally

Daylight saving time

I See NO reason to disrupt everyone's daily routine twice a year. The ONLY REASON it was enacted in the first place was to allow politicans more time to play Golf! Split the difference and leave it alone!

DST

Tired of getting use to one way and then they change it back, add the clocks forward and leave it alone?

Keep DST

Keep DST and never change our clocks back in the fall.

D.S.T.

If you really want to go to work an hour earlier so you can go home an hour earlier, work it out with your boss, but don't shove it down my throat.

Daylight Saving Time

Let's abolish this nonsense once and for all, and stay on standard time. I'm seventy-one, and haven't changed my clocks or watches since I was thirteen and realized how stupid it was. If you cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it on to the bottom, it doesn't make the blanket any longer..

DST

I prefer the extra hour, give uh s the hour and leave it alone?

DST

We do not have to have Congress do anything if we would just stay on Standard time year round. Why are they trying to make it more difficult than it needs to be, just go to Standard time.

Daylight Saving Time

I live in Canada and I wish we would never have to turn our clocks back in the Autumn. Therefore, if there was a Poll here in Canada I would vote to keep Daylight Saving Time.

DST

You all crack me up. The animals will love it if we stayed on DST. Gods time.....I believe the clocks are set to GMT.....and that's not Gods time. Personally I think we should do away with time zones too.. Those are stupid. Make it the same time globally. We will all get used to going to bed at noon....and heck, it will be 5 o'clock EVERYWHERE!. If we are so bound to living by the light.....the time doesn't matter. I will still work 8hrs a day......I will still go in when the sun is shining, I will still get off when it's dark. Daylight in the winter will still last about 6 hours and summer days will still be about 18 hours. The only reason a clock is needed is to get to work on time.....and leave work, on time, and what the clock says....makes no difference. An 8 hour egg timer would work for that! Doing, you're done!

DST

You all crack me up. The animals will love it if we stayed on DST. Gods time.....I believe the clocks are set to GMT.....and that's not Gods time. Personally I think we should do away with time zones too.. Those are stupid. Make it the same time globally. We will all get used to going to bed at noon....and heck, it will be 5 o'clock EVERYWHERE!. If we are so bound to living by the light.....the time doesn't matter. I will still work 8hrs a day......I will still go in when the sun is shining, I will still get off when it's dark. Daylight in the winter will still last about 6 hours and summer days will still be about 18 hours. The only reason a clock is needed is to get to work on time.....and leave work, on time, and what the clock says....makes no difference. An 8 hour egg timer would work for that! Doing, you're done!

Stand time only

One consideration I didn't see, but did not look at all, people on specific time medications have problems adjusting to the new time. Not only that, but the time changes don't have to be so early in the year, May and October at the earliest and latest changes. I see no real reason except for recreational and maybe yard work. But for the most part, no savings on electricity for it is going to be dark either way. Let's get back to Standard Time and put it in stone!

Daylight savings time

I am 73 yrs old and I am tired of heaving to change the clocks 2 times a year when it's not necessary.

Time change

I wish NY would stop the time change , it benefits no one leave the clocks alone

DST

I was born at home on Oct. 28, 1942 in rural southeastern Illinois. My birth certificate says at 12:15 a.m. An elderly farmer in our community, whom never changed his clock one hour, vehemently stated one time, when I was asked my birth date, your birthday is Oct. 27th by God's time not the 28th which is Roosevelt's time. Over the years I have variously used both dates to some people's consternation. I prefer God's time.

DST

DST is a waste of time. If left on DST, as some people suggest, daylight would arrive after 9 AM, leaving kids standing in the dark waiting for the school bus. Nature does it best.

DST

I grew up in NH where the farmers did not change there time. the animals are on a time schedule of there own and dst just interruptsi it the same as ours I say do away with it I have animals who know what time it is to eat etc lol they do not need a clock

DST

We should go on Standard Time permanently. DST doesn't really save anything.

daylight savings time mess

I hate it. Just when it begins to get lighter in the mornings daylight savings throws us back into the dark. Let it be! Early light is better than extra darkness

DST

Change the law. No more changing clocks twice a year. It has Run it’s course.

Time change

Leave it one way or the other year round

Daylight Saving Time

I think standard time is better DST is only and illusion that you'll get an extra hour of daylight in the evening all we're doing is cheating the clock one hour

End DST... Madness

It’s time to put an end to DST! It does nothing but confuse our biological clocks, our bodies, and affects our health. Add in the complete hassle of changing every watch and clock (sometimes on a ladder) it is of NO added value to our lives. States like Arizona should show the government that we can all survive (probably healthier) without DST!

Abolish DST

I am ready for DST to go away permanently! It is a really rough adjustment for my health, especially my sleep.

DST

End it.

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