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

Daylight Savings Time

With all the meaningless bills Congress votes on, how about one that most people want; no more daylight savings time. It wastes energy and is hard on our bodies creating more health problems. You'd think that Congress would want to "save energy" and "be more mindful of health issues." Go figure! Demolish DST!

DST

Please, stop the time changes.
And it has always been backward to me anyway. Need the day light in the
winter not the summer.

BC Canada

They just passed rules to stay on DST all year. This makes them the same as the time zone beside them, unless they follow their example.
FYI
I see and hear this mistake regularly, even on news reports. Revert means back “revert back” isn’t correct.

DST

Stop it altogether. It’s not healthy & it is expensive.

daylight saying time

its bad all the way around its is why some countrys dont do it any more so why should we thank you mjg

DST

Get rid of it. Only messes with sleep of people and family pets,and farmers. It serves no real purpose.

DST/EST

There is not an animal I know who needs or cares about time, except the human species. Standard time, please. I function much better, physically and mentally, on "winter time" and I won't have explain to the cat why his dinner is late.

DST

I would prefer to have Daylight Savings Time all year, but in any case just stick with one time or the other please.

DST vs Atlantic Time

Here in Maine, I believe that we should just change to Atlantic time with no more switching back and forth.

DST

Get rid of it. There are no benefits. It is simply disruptive.

End daylight savings time

As a teacher, I favor ending DST. Every spring I struggle to adjust for a few weeks. Before the time change in spring, I become accustomed to driving in morning light. Then change in time puts us commuters back in the dark.

I like DST

When we fall back I feel like it’s Christmas. I get up at what is now six am and it’s light out. I am well rested. I lived in Arizona for years where they don’t have DST. I hated it. It was pitch dark when my kids walked to the bus.

Dst

I'm in favor of keeping it year round daylight savings time.I deliver packages for a living and it's much easier to see a house in the daylight at 5:00 pm when it's light out not dark in the winter months

DST

Considering how the population of this planet is descending into chaos, and the massively devastating world war that is sure to follow, this is really a non-issue at this point in Human history!

We're all going to be forced back into the sundial era in the very near future, those of us that survive that is!

END DST

DST is about the stupidest thing our government has ever come up with. You still have the SAME number of daylight hours, no matter what the clocks say. As far as school... I started elementary school back in the 50's. The distance we lived from the school made us "walkers". I don't ever remember having to walk TO school in the dark or not having enough daylight walking home to stop at the creek and hunt to see what critters were still out and about.

Dst

We in California don’t like DST period!

Time changes

Just pick a time. Any time. And then leave it alone.

DST

It's time for DST to end! Or have DST all year round. Doesn't matter to me which one.

HATE

Set the time and leave it alone. I hate time changes, and anyone who likes them is not a smart person and should be sacked. :)

Daylight savings time

Abolish the whole thing. I don't care which one we stay with, just stay with one time.

DST

I do NOT like the time change leave it alone the time as it is in November is good

End DST

In my area, West Central Georgia, USA during DST children wait for and board their school bus in the dark. Very dangerous and so tough on early elementary schoolers! Adults seem to base their opinion on this subject on their preferences rather than considering the danger to the young students. End DST!

Daylight Sayings Time

I like The changing of the clocks both in the fall and spring. I prefer more daylight at the beginning of the day. The “fall back, spring forward” maximizes this.

DST

In Texas they are using the explanation for schools, the school buses say when they let them it is still daylight, well now when they pick them up it is pitch black. Some one needs to think of the health of the people. DST is not good for our health. The government is more concerned about retail then human beings.

DST

End it

DST Abolishment

I vote for year-round Standard Time. Late sunlight and late morning darkness do nothing but jeopardize early evening summer sleep and sleepy children on dark mornings in fall and winter. Just leave things alone to astronomical reality.

DST

End DST and stay on standard time year round.

DST

DST needs to end. Summer days never seem to end and you feel you need to be doing something all the time. By the time the sun sets, there is not much evening left to relax befire going to bed. I hate it.

DLS

I find DLS nonsense. We didn’t create time and we shouldn’t touch it. Think of the animals, farmers and our health before thinking about what it ‘might’ save us money wise. And apparently some states and countries even lose money by it. So please US and Canada, STOP DLS!!!

DST

Let our bodies naturally get accustomed
to the gradual light change. End DST !

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