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

DST

Do away with it after the change in spring! Does not good ,in fact is inconvenient for every one. Twice every year our body rhythm is changed if you have pets the problems are intensified I hate DST

Abolish DST!

Hated DST from the beginning. It doesn't save anything and does more harm than good.

DST

Please end DST-it is not worth the consternation it causes! I hate it.

D

If 80% of people want this abolished, isn’t it another indication of the failure of democracy that it persists?

Stop DST

Everyone I have ever discussed this with agrees. They need to stop this DST & allow standard time not to be changed. People want to get various things done outside after they get home from work, while they still have daylight.
How can the people of the USA put a stop to this change___?

End DST in Spring 2019

definitely believe the USA should "opt out" of Daylight Savings Time after we "spring forward" and then permanently enjoy the daylight... now if only Washington actually listens to us ;-)

DST

Do away with it leave it as standard time the benefits are no longer there As i do enjoy the late sunset I equally enjoy the earlier sunrise basically readjust to the standard. Let it be

End changing clocks

I believe we should spring forward and keep that time permanently.

DST

End DST now....absolutely!

time change

I also think we should change in the SPRING and leave it there!

100 percent on board with ditching the time changes!!

I want the time changes to be gone. I have even looked it up and considered moving to a state that does not observe this nonsense. I am one of the many folks that has a terrible time adjusting to the time change & I can tell that it effects my health in a negative way.

DST

Leave clocks on standard time all year.

DST needs to go! Forced on Indiana with ridiculous arguments!

That argument that "no one knows what time it is in Indiana" was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard. You can't google it? You can't add a few numbers in your head? I don't know what time it is in [whatever state in the US] so I google it. Or should I happen to remember how many time zones they are away from me, I do some simple math. That should not be a deterrent to attracting business unless you don't have access to the internet and can't do simple math. If that's the case then you probably don't own a business. And thanks Mitch Daniels for costing us more money instead of saving it.

Since the bottom line for DST is all about businesses making money, you can bet it won't be going away any time soon. The health of our country and the conservation of energy are not as important as the almighty dollar.

one time zone all year around

One time zone. Figure out what gives us the most daylight during the year between 7 am and 5 pm and stick to that time. No switching. It has cost us enough already.

Getting off DST.

I would LOVE for California to get OFF DST PERMANENTLY!!!!!! It supposedly was for the farmers, but they are now doing their own thing anyway so......what’s the point? And, it is DANGEROUS for children to walk to school in the dark!!!!! And growing children need to stick to a sleep and waking time consistently!!!!

DST

Scrap it for everybody there is no need for it!

Leave the time to 1 set time

Leave the time to 1 set time pleaseeee!! I hate the change It makes everyone tired and less productive. I work 6am and I love getting up early .. but with the time set an hour early it is my favorite so that there is lots of daylight when I get off work..

one year, one time

I am from europe and I prefer daylight saving. it gives longer afernoons in the fall when the days get shorter and cutting another hour seems like the day ends even earlier. whatever is chosen I hope they stick to ONE hour whole year round. It's stressing!

Add-on to Natural Time

The time zones are man-made lines on a map and were set up to standardize time around the earth, but standard time does not reflect natural time. Under natural time the zenith (noon) occurs a half-hour earlier (7.5 degrees) at the eastern edge of the time zone and a half-hour later at the western edge. So, you have to make some adjustments when you are telling time by the sun depending on where you are within the time zone. Natural noon occurs at each minute (1/60th of a degree) or even each second (1/60th of a minute) in its own time. Of course, standard time zones work for modern man to coordinate time around the planet, so I don't object to the inaccuracy, I'm just saying it is man-made, not natural.

Food for thought.

You make some valid points. I live in Australia and my state still has DST. We have a hot Christmas so it's good for entertaining, kids pool parties etc. Although I think your 'Studies show/link/have found' section may be a bit of a stretch as genetics, environmental and psychological factors come into play (e.g., there would be a rise in suicides at Christmas no matter whether it is DST or not), I also wonder, after reading this, whether DST is really necessary. Well done.

Natural Time

The earth revolves west to east which makes the sun appear to rise in the east and travel west 15 degrees per hour (24 hours = 360 degrees). So, each time zone covers 15 degrees of longitude and was set up so that the sun is at its zenith (highest point) at the middle of the time zone exactly at noon. Daylight savings time screws up natural time. Using natural time, one can tell the time of the day by the position of the sun in degrees from the zenith, hence sundials are very accurate and can't be reset to DST. Earth's orbit around the sun creates the seasons as the eliptical orbit causes the sun to appear to move north to south (summer or winter depending on whether you live in the northern or southern hemisphere). Natural laws have worked marvelously for billions of years. Ditch DST and allow nature's laws, not man's laws, to rule.

DST

Scrap it all around the world...

DST

Abolish DST - Never was for it! Health reasons statistics affect more people than we want to acknowledge. Students early on buses - just last week in Northern Indiana THREE (3) children killed crossing road in darkness. This is not the first time. Socioeconomic advantages are actually disadvantages when all pros and cons combined. Time to "Let Go" of this worn out idea (Not Ideal)!

Daylight Savings Time

Just eliminate it.

DST

Scrap it, PLEASE !

Quit DST

I feel it is totally useless. And I cannot stand having to change all the clocks in my house twice a year.

DST

I find it (changing the clocks back and forth) a disruptive nuisance and we should get rid of it
once and for all. Why don't the politicians do something useful for a change?
If the large majority of us don't want it why do we still have it. DUMP IT!!

Dst

I'm all for stopping it. I see no point.

Dst

I'm all for stopping it. I see no point.

daylight savings time

I really wish DST did not exist. I would like to stay with regular time.

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