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 Saving Time - what a joke!

I live in South Texas and I've always thought that if we must have DST, it needs to be exactly opposite of what we have. However, the best option is to do away with it completely. It definitely does not save us anything - light or money.

Setting clocks ahead/back

I don't like changing it ...Leave it alone.

DST

If our government feels the need to change the time then change it to thirty minutes and leave it alone. Otherwise abolish it.

Daylight Saving time

Stop changing the clocks. It takes me about three months to adjust. Only the American government thinks that you can cut a foot off of one end of a blanket, sew it on the other end and believe it is a foot longer.
Stop changing the clocks

DST Disaster

I have long been opposed to DST for a number of reasons:

It actually wastes energy in most cases. With the increased use of LED lighting, the portion of the average home’s electric bill attributed to lighting is very small; however, running the AC is another matter. Many people have programmable thermostats that increase the set point for the AC when no one is typically at home; others do it manually when they leave in the morning. In the afternoon, when DST is in effect, the sun is up for an extra hour and the AC unit has to run harder longer, which more than negates the small savings from reduced lighting use.

It is hard on wildlife. With more people driving to work in the dark when most wild animals are active greatly increases the incidents of road kill. Not only is it bad for wildlife, it is dangerous for drivers.

The most important reason for scraping DST is that it increases the danger faced by our children when they have to walk or ride bicycles to school or the bus stop in the dark. Every year when we switch to DST in the spring, there is an up tick in the number of injuries suffered by kids getting struck by cars and/or having bicycle accidents on the way to school. If DST is a factor in the death or serious injury of just one child, then it is not worth it.

DST

I hated it when I was young and now as a 60+ yo, still hate it. I never found it beneficial to my work or my health or my productivity. Please eliminate in our state!

DST

I agree that the USA should abolish DST. I have not changed my clocks for several years now, and don't plan to change it this year; it has worked well for me and my family overall health. Natural rhythm exist for many reasons, disrupting it, causes biological rhythm disruption, affecting our moods, mental and other illnesses. Tex Ojeda from New York.

DST

Abolish DST, it causes more harm than good.

DST

The rotation of the earth is not subject to government regulation. Daylight cannot be saved. It can be wasted, though.

Nothing Saved

There are 24 hours in a day. The sun shines a set number of hours per day. We live by our clocks, not the sun. Leave the time on the clocks alone....we will still have the same amount of light and darkness in that 24 hour period. I say move it 30 minutes between DLT and current clock time and forget about it. In a year's time no one will know the difference.

Daylight Savings

I would love to see DST gone. It is a health hazard that few have really studied. The animals only know the real "Sun" time, which is what I respond to.

DST

Daylight Savings Time all year.

DST

Stop DST! I have long considered 'universal jet-lag' to be a stupid, mean and insane practice. Especially disruptive is the 'springing forward'. Though I'd prefer staying on DST, now we are off it, stay off it. And how about putting Michigan in the Central Time Zone where it belongs?

DST

As a retired person I go by the sun anyway. But when my kids were school age I hated the change for many reasons. I hated sending my children to the school bus at the jump ahead time. In Wyoming this ment colder weather and dark bus stops. The sun wasn’t up to melt the icy roads which made sliding busses at their stops. We turned on lights and turned up heaters sooner in the mornings. I could go on but your getting my disapproval right?

DST

I'd vote to go back on DST in March and stay there forever. I hate changing all the clocks twice a year (I have a LOT of clocks). And the adjustments it creates is especially difficult for children and animals. But I do like the extra hour of daylight in the evenings. So why not adjust permanently with the clocks on DST. The only thing I like about DST is that one night of the year when you THINK you're getting an extra hour of sleep...until you pop awake at 4:45 a.m. and you're up for the day.

DST

Abolish! I enjoy have more daylight after work.

DST

I hate it getting dark early in the evening. So I’m all for DST to stay when we set our clocks in the spring.

DST

DST all year round

re: Daylight Saving

A very wise native American once said, "Only the white man thinks he can gain something by cutting off one end of a blanket then sewing it on the other."

Daylight Savings Time

We need to abolish it. We no longer really need it, probably never did and we are tired of all the confusion about. Especially as we are getting older. I would love to see it end today ! ; }

DST

Please put a stop to daylight savings once and for all. There are no benefits to DST.

Time Change

All the comments I read seem to agree to not changing our clocks.I would like to know what we need to do to make this a reality.

DST

Yes, leave it one way or the other and quit changing it every few months.

END DST, Disruptive

Now that I'm retired I definitely do not miss having my sleep patterns disrupted in a major way, twice a year. I used to really dread it when the time changed and could count on spending 2 or 3 weeks each time re-acclimating my body rhythms. Definitely remember going through the struggle when the kids were in school.

Daylight savings time

I am all for ending dst, it makes absolutely no sense.

DST

Let this be the last time for DST. I lived in Arizona which for the most part does not observe DST. It was so nice not messing with clocks twice a year. Now I have to change twice a year and remember what time it is back in Arizona when I make call back there. Lets end DST NOW

Abolish DST

It takes my husband and me several weeks to adjust our ‘inner clock’ whenever we have to change every spring and fall. DST serves no purpose but to annoy everyone. We vote GET RID OF IT,

Daylight savings time

I wish they would make it DST all year long. I'd enjoy the extra light at the end of the day. Changing back and forth and throwing off your sleep time is harder the older you get.

DST

Maybe more importantly children are greatly affected by this. Let’s think of them

DST

Yes! Absolutely! Abolish DST. I have brought up the problem of the children awaiting buses in the dark and cold, especially in city neighborhoods, every year. I really don't care when the sun goes down, according to the clocks; but as a semi-retired person, I suffer fatigue for the entire eight months of DST (and why EIGHT months???), because I work afternoons and evenings, and if I have to do anything at all during early morning hours, I am sluggish and unproductive. The whole idea of it is silly and selfish, causes many more problems, and solves nothing.

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