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.)

shutterstock_320805509_full_width.jpg
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.

shutterstock_398925817_full_width.jpg
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.

shutterstock_318184772_full_width.jpg

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.

farmers-2343262_1280.jpg

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!

astronomy-3217141_1280_full_width.jpg

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!

2022_planner_spring_ad_1.png

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

DST

Absolutely hate it! It is so hard on everyone in the spring and in the fall I don't feel like I "gain" an hour of sleep at all! How do we abolish it? Who do we contact?

END DST

DST was a stupid idea from he get go. If you want to take advantage of the light early in the day just get up earlier! It's not exactly rocket science...

I vote to ditch Daylight Savings Time

The only saving grace to DST is that kids can begin their Trick-or-Treating before it gets so dark.
I'm always grateful when Standard Time returns, and I am able to regain my hour of lost sleep.
Also, DST with the region is often input as the Standard time acronym: e.g., CST and not CDT.

daylight savings time

I say stop the twice- yearly time change as people and animals are entirely disrupted.

Day light saving time

I hate it. Please let stop changing our clock. I like to stay on the summer time schedule. I like it lighter longer in the evenings.

DST

I’m in favor of abolishing DS. My body is more in rhythm with nature in standard time. I think all of nature is.

WHY PERMANENT DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME WOULD BE BEST

We have become a mostly urban and suburban society, and year round DST seems to make the most sense for the majority. Thousands of kids do after-school school sports and need the daylight. Families do things together outside after supper. And in winter, we already have the shortest daylight of the year, so why make it even shorter during the busy afternoon hours?

We do not need it.

I've always said DST only profits the energy companies, thank you for providing the supporting information. Let's get end of this useless practice so we can save money, and energy.

Daylight Savings Time

I don't change my clocks during daylight savings time, I just know they're "wrong". I don't think we need to keep changing our clock. The only ones who really benefit from daylight savings time are the retailers, and they already take a great deal of our money. They have electric lights, the retailers should use them so that the rest of us can get back to a normal schedule that is healthier for everyone!

DST is BAD!

DST is proven harmful to people, school students, pets and farm animals. All you point out about its adverse effects seems "overwhelmed" by the power of the few who profit from it. It takes me nearly two months to "recover" from the effects of each DST change, especially in the Spring!
I whole heartedly vote DST be stopped.

Standard Time It Should Be!

Standard time is based on eons of timekeeping, the sun is directly over head at 12:00 noon, middle of the day, like it should be, not at 1:00 pm using DST. Why do we human beings think we can mess with or even change time, we can't so we shouldn't even try! Go back to Standard time only.

Make DST standard time. I

Make DST standard time. I work 2nd shift. I hate the current standard time.

END IT!!!

One way or another - just get this over with!!!! It's a complete form of CONTROL - pure and simple - nothing more - no gains at all, just disruption! Evil, evil, evil.

DST

Get rid of it. Does not help anyone or anything..

Daylight Savings Time

I love daylight savings time and wish it was year round! I hate for it to be dark at 5:30 p.m. because it seems depressing to me. More daylight for me!

daylight savings time

A former boss of mine who knows the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the Chamber fellow had succeeded in pushing through Congress the extension of DST (start earlier, last longer) because IT WAS GOOD FOR BUSINESS. The Chamber said people shopped longer when it was lighter later. Do we want big business regulating our lives like that?

DST

Please abolish the practice!

daylight savings

If you work the midnight or overnight shift, make sure you get paid for that extra hour you'll be working when they turn the clocks back!

DST

Get rid of it!!!!!!

EDT Comments

I've found EDT to be disruptive/disturbing - both physically and mentally. Readjustment to this EVIL PRACTICE has been HARD ALWAYS, but now as age advances, it's doubly TOUGH. AWAY WITH IT!! FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was always a BAD IDEA.
Signed~ A Farmer's Daughter - Age 81 & counting!!
DVPrillaman

Stop

It’s time to end it.

just make a decision

I hate switching the clocks. Seems like my moods and body are out of sorts for weeks. While I prefer standard time, would be nice to just decide on one and leave it. No more changes. As the population ages I do want to point out that this is difficult for those with dementia, they need routine and disruption of schedules is extremely difficult for them, while disrupting biological clocks for animals and other people alike. So please, make a decision and let it alone!

Make DST the new Standard time 365

The extra sunlight at the end of the day makes a big difference especially for commuters. Make DST the regular standard time year-round. If time is man-made concept, then Standard just means the format that was first decided. Let's change that to there DST hours and Stop the switching.

Daylight savings time

Personally I would rather be on standard time all year long. I really hated the recent change to Nov/Mar making standard time only 4-5 months long. The worst part is changing to DST. No DST in Arizona is one of the many reasons I would like to live there again. I wish my state would go off of DST. I have known that the farmer & DST was a myth for a long time but the politicians seem to use it as justification. Probably because none of them are farmers.

DST

Goodbye to DST please, please, please!!!

Blind people could care less!

Blind people could care less!

DST

I really hope we can do away with DST - reach out to your Senators & Representatives, both State & National.

DST

Even though one's body adjusts to it, I would still prefer DST become extinct.

DST

We need to be allowed to vote on the DST issue.
Giving us that chance would very likely abolish this tampering with "Time" once and for all.
I'm guessing at least 95% of the population hates the idea.
100% of the pet kingdom absolutely hates it.
Livestock has not idea why their world becomes so chaotic twice a year.
Stop the madness.

DST

DST go away, no more havoc from you!!

Pages