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

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DST Complications

All that and more. The amount of daylight each day changes differently from location to location and from day to day. As businesses change operating hours, they also change the amount of time their employees are getting paid for. That means people get paid differently through the year and constantly have to adjust their budgets. It cascades into every facet of life, so it won't happen easily, but I think that once we eventually learn to operate on farmer's clocks, we'll find most of the worries will resolve themselves.

It's well worth doing for our health and well being.

Being slaves to the economy is a bigger issue yet, but if we can handle things like this clock nonsense in a healthy and intelligent manner, we'll fix that, too -- one bite at a time.

Scrapping Daylight Saving Time

You can thank Samuel Pierpont Langley (Google him) for the different time zones and it's a great idea, it keeps trains from bumping into each other, but he had nothing to do with the useless practice of DST as we've just read. It's interesting to note that Samuel Pierpont Langley invented the first airplane to fly under its' own power 8 years before the Wright brothers which is why we have Langley AFB, Langley, VA, the Navy's first aircraft carrier, CVA 1, was the USS Langley, and there are schools named after him. I just couldn't stop myself on this.

Daylight savings

I prefer it!! I think we should stay on daylight savings. We are people who like being outside after work & school. The change on the body is no different then traveling to a different time zone (jet lag) I personally love when we change in the spring! Fall I hate......

I prefer Daylight Savings time!

I totally agree with the commenter who prefers Daylight Savings Time! I, too, am an outdoors person, and thrive on having the extra daylight hours at the end of the day. I have trouble with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and do better with more daylight in the afternoon. I live in New Jersey and would love to have DSA all year round, as my New England counterparts are considering.

DST

Need to stop this practice. Time is man made but it’s set......changing it’s been proven ineffective, confusing, and more trouble than it’s worth.

Day Light Savings

This is a dumb practice to follow. All it does is mess up our bodies. It really has NO purpose!!!

DLS

One thing not mentioned is the folks that go to work at 5AM if your a grownup it's real hard to have sunset at 10 pm in southern states and go to bed before dark sets in, but still have to be up at 3:30 or 4 AM to get ready for work. If you go to bed at 11-12 am you are way short on sleep all summer.

DST

Why not leave the clocks alone, and change the order of operations? Businesses and schools can have "winter hours" and "spring hours"... if they choose.

Daylight Savings Time

PLEASE, PLEASE get rid of DST‼️ Our internal clocks are set the day we are born & the practice Of DST goes against every grain of our being & is unhealthy!

Why did the Almanac change?

It wasn't that long ago that the Old Farmer's Almanac only printed Sunrise and Sunset in Standard Time, year round. I was not pleased when you changed that, and I wish you'd go back to doing it.

DST is like an old Chinese proverb

A Chinese proverb says changing clocks is like cutting cloth from one end of the bolt
and sewing it on the other end. What's been gained? We live in northwest MT at
the western edge of the mountain time zone. Consequently, with DST it stays light in the
summer til 11 p.m. and dark in the winter until 8 a.m. Such insanity. Even our local
doctors say its really hard on folks (not to mention the livestock) Abolish DST all together!

People should stop saying this

"Extra daylight means more people shop in retail environments. Outdoor businesses such as golf courses and gardening supply stores report more profit with more daylight hours."

There. Is. Not. More. Daylight.

We don't have that power.

Just end it. It's stupid. And unnatural for the afternoon to be longer than the morning.

Abolish/or Readjust “Daylight Savings Time”

I could not agree more! The question is however, “Is anyone in Congress or Government listening or do they even care”? I live in NYC, and I can tell you that I didn’t save a dime when they decided to expand DST in 2008, as every light needs to go on in the house when we get up bc it’s pitch black outside, and again the evening bc it’s dark out.....so what did we save ? Nothing! Matter of fact, Leave Eastern Standard Time alone, or re~adjust it to the original concept & stop the gimmicks for commercial purposes at the risk people’s health and natural well~being. Please and thank you! That “extra hour” is natural to your body and should not be messed with because it’s STANDARD......

Day Light Savings Time

I do not like it, please stop the practice.

Day Light Savings Time

I do not like it, please stop the practice.

Day Light Saving Time

It may have been a good thing at one time but it is completely useless in today's world! I dislike resetting clocks, resetting my dog's routine and resetting my body's routine. Let's end it!!

Gripes about DST

It is always funny to see these articles twice a year. Everyone hates the DST change when they need to change, but I have never heard remarks about removing it in late June or early July when people have extra time in the evening. I wonder what type of comments will occur at these times once DST change is removed.

Year Round DST

Leave it as DST year round. Love the extra daylight in the evening. Leaves more time for doing things outdoors.

DST

I hate it. Pick one time and leave it there.

DST

I am in favor of standard time all the time

DST

Needs to be done away with. People managed way before it came into affect and people will manage again. Change things in government not the time.

DST

I live in Southern New Mexico and my family are farmers and ranchers and we have never agreed to the time change. We wish it could be abolished in the whole state of New Mexico.

DST

Get rid of it. Serves no useful purpose. Leave on standard tile!!

DST

Bad idea to begin with let it go

DST

End It!!!! It is more aggravation than it is useful.

DST

Abolish it. Most seniors that I have talked to have said that it is harder to deal with the time change than when they were younger.

DST

Let's get rid of it, outdated and seems to have more harm than good

Daylight Savings Time

Hate it. Hate Hate it. Praying that it will be abolished

DST

I personally don't like it. My hens are outside wandering around because their bodies are on the wrong time. I can't change them and just have to keep them safe from night hunters like owls, until it gets lighter. Let's go back to what it was. I work as well. I love having dark at a time when it should be dark. You can't garden in the snow anyhow. The need for this change is long since past. So should DST.

comment

it nature policy is canot change time

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