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

Time to end this madness,

once and for all, if all of America feels anything like the comments below, lets just put a stop to this !

End DST

Daylight Savings has run its course, time to end it globally.

DST

Every time we move the clock in the fall, either my husband or myself gets sick. Some times it is both of us. Our bodies don't do well with the changes and fully supporting getting rid of it completely.

Standard time vs. DST--compromise?

Changing the clocks is a nuisance, ends up costing more, and decreases happiness & productivity for at least a few weeks during the year. If Uncle Sam can't decide Standard vs. Savings, why not compromise on the half-hour and call it a day? In the spring, set all the clocks 1/2 hour up and leave them there. Our body clocks will adjust more readily, it won't have such a profound impact on farming, energy use, etc. Bring the non-DST states into the fold and our time zones will make sense. We will only be 1/2 hour out-of-sync with the rest of the planet either way, but so what? We're smart enough to figure that out, and so are they.

1/2 hour compromise makes most sense

I agree with Sharon - let's go half way and change no more!
Shifting a clock time does not add or remove daylight, the sun does that. Instead of relying on changing clocks, businesses and schools can change what time they open and close based on the season.

Time change! Leave it alone.

I do not understand why we still change the clocks. Most people everywhere want to leave it alone. There may have been a good reason during the war but today it is not necessary. I vote to leave the clocks alone. There are definitely more negatives to the change then positives. And I do live in NH where the extra hour of daylight would be beneficial. What do we have to do to get this to stop? Now waiting for March to get the time change back. I hope at that time it will stay that way. I do not understand why this has not happened yet.

DST

I say eliminate DST. The sun and moon provide our natural clock. Why do politicians insist on governing things that don't require interference? They need to focus on the things that deserve their attention.

Daylight Savings Tme

PLEASE get rid of it!!!!!!!
We are senior citizens and I have to get on a ladder to reach some clocks.
There are so many that do not change automatically!
It takes me forever to change clocks...watches, car clocks, outdoor clocks, garage clocks,
etc, etc, etc....
Can't believe everyone went along with this stupid idea, for so long!

DST - a 50/50 solution

I live in the Southwest and for us, we get plenty of sunshine most of the year. With sunshine comes heat and we don't need more of that. But people in the northern parts of the country want to have more sunshine. They want more daytime and warmer temperatures. Thus it would seem one choice would be to divide the country in half, from sea to sea. The north side gets DST and the south side does not. Then, there is the fact that animals and plants are not concerned about this because they react to and live by the amount of sunshine they get, regardless of what our clocks say. They are always on Mother Nature's time! Maybe we should take our cue from them.

DST FOREVER

Yeah! Quit flip flopping the time of day but I’d rather stay with DST and have the extra daylight at the end of the day. I was so enamored of DST that when I was employed (now retired) I would adjust my work hours to stay on DST.

Keep DST all year

I'm in New Hampshire, where it gets dark at 4:14 p.m. in December. I find the early darkness very depressing and am in favor of keeping DST all year round.

Arizona

Thank goodness we don’t observe DST in almost all of Arizona. Every year I thank God I live here and don’t have to change my clocks twice a year. Avoid the insanity and abolish DST.

Remain on DST all year

I've always hated it, changing the clocks back and forth. I've always said, if the darkness affects your life then adjust your own hours, not the world's hours. Businesses can change the hours they operate, they do already anyway. With such varied work schedules, we are already adjusting our own hours of shopping, playing, and general living of life. Stop changing the clocks, it's obsolete.

Daylight Savings Time

I would rather have daylight savings time year round. I don't mind the darkness in the morning, but I don't like it getting dark so early at night, makes me want to go to sleep at 4:00 PM.

DST

I would prefer to stay on DST, more daylight.

DST

Let end it. After fourty some years of it. It's not working at all I can tell you that. Mr. Benjamin Franklin, your idea is not working too well. I am sorry sir. Let all of us end the DST. Now.

Remain on DST year round.

I don’t mind going to work in the dark and coming home with some light for part of the evening. For people affected by SAD some sunlight is important and not everyone can get outside for a walk during their work day. Less electricity use for lighting would occur in the morning as were all racing to get ready and out of the house for work and school. We use more in the evening when we’re all home so a few hours more of sunlight would decrease the light use. Farmers and specifically the animals would be thrilled!

Scrap DST

I will be 71 years old next month. I always felt that DST was a negative crock of you-know-what that serves no one in the long run. I fully agree with this article.

DST

I really wish they would just end it and be done with all the useless talking about it!! It's barbaric, we don't need to live like this anymore, so stop torturing us!

Daylight Savings Time

I am all for abolishing it-it simply complicates our lives with yet another government intrusion .And it not only messes with us in a variety of ways ,it also messes with our pets’ schedule-they consistently get us up when they are used to getting up to take their walk!

DST "saves" nothing!

The only really logical argument for DST, other than the "farmer's argument," is that it saves getting up in darkness in the Winter when we go back to standard time. If a real study was to be done I think that it would be found that DST would be more effective in the winter than in the summer - more people using lights in the early evening than in the early morning.

DST - popular? NOT!

I don't think DST has ever been popular; people just go along with whatever the administrators decide. The Administrators give a reason for making the rules, but I have never seen the practice put to a popular vote. I grew up under the WWII mandate, and have gone with the tide of intermittent cancellations of DST, followed by seemingly short periods of Standard Time, not knowing that I had a choice (LOL) against the Government Mandates.

Dst

Hate it

Abolish and END DST!!!!!!

End DST, all it does is confuse our biological clock and body. I'm sure animals don't like it either. Let the sun and earth that God created do their thing.

Changing Time of Day?

It's Absolutely inane! For only 4 months each year? Then Congress changes the dates? just by a few days? - What's that got to do with anything? Of all the meaningless bills Congress votes on, this is how they waste their time? Everyone [with a brain] knows we & animals & fauna can't change their biological or mental clock on a whim. But to be forced to do so is absurd & unwarranted. I agree, maybe all here should begin to set up petitions in their states. OR we could to Credo create a petition, for Congress to choose a Normal Day, as some said, a "Standard" time, & stick to it. We can also, as suggested below, email our State & Federal Reps - to end this fiasco once & for all

DST

I have discussed this subject with family, friends and co-workers. Not one person including myself is in favor. Stop the madness! LOL.

DST

I have discussed this subject with family, friends and co-workers. Not one person including myself is in favor. Stop the madness! LOL.

DST

I consider no more DST as a "no-brainer" decision - majority of people no longer want it & Congress needs to vote on this in a timely manner so they can address more emergent issues!

Keep DST all year long

I wish it was always DST. I hate getting out of the office at 5 in the late fall and winter and having it already be dark. Makes me feel anxious and hate driving in the dark.

Standard time year round

Stop DST. Keep standard time year round.

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