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

Let's leave it on DST always. I agree with all the positive benefits you have mentioned above and I know personally that my life runs smoother with extended daylight hours.

DST

I say don't do anything with it after we change the clocks on the 14th of March, us working people like to have an extra hour of day light. Coming from the sunshine state Florida.

Time changes

I'd prefer time was left alone; most mornings are dark anyway, so leave it on Summer time, or do one last change of one-half hour then LEAVE it!

DST

Get rid of it please, theres no benefit and its only disruptive. DST needs to go away permanently.

When people work all day it’s

When people work all day it’s nice to have that extra hour of daylight!

Time change

I am desperate to do what ever it takes to end this unhealthy ritual that is done solely out of habit and if it's done so ppl can shop more as I've read, that's sickening, and I'm willing to do everything and anything to end it. I feel so helpless, I've reached out to local government and even tried higher, which failed. This time change needs to be looked at for its unhealthy mental and physical affects it has on humans, there are so many! I am affected horribly twice a year with sleep patterns changing even when I acclimate myself and child a month ahead of time to get ready for it. It needs to end and as a society I feel like we're all helpless to it. I am hoping and prayer that there is some group, some gathering of ppl. Who are willing to take this to Washington in marches, as something so that it is a matter to be taken serious. Please let me know what I can do, or who I can join in this issue to change it.

A New Hope

The Editors's picture

You may just get your wish this year! A new bill was just submitted to the U.S. Senate that would do away with the time change and make DST permanent. It’s called the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 and has bipartisan support—a good sign! 

If you want to voice your opinion, your best bet would be to contact your state’s senators and let them know what you think.

Time Change

Yes, let’s not do this anymore. Pick one, and be done.

Tired of it and tired because of it!

I have always felt this was an outdated practice causing far more problems than helping us in any way. When my children were younger, this change always caused problems for their sleep habits and moods. As I have gotten older (I am almost 60), both times changes in the fall and spring have caused me health problems and sleeping issues. I also work a job where my mind needs to be sharp and I find that for several weeks after either time change, I am more in a "Mind fog" place and not able to think as clearly. I do not understand why this has not been dealt with much earlier and as far as I am concerned, our federal government needs to stop this outdated practice, I do live in Georgia, so I hope we pass a bill here to stop changing the clocks and give us some peace of mind. Thank you for this article!

Down with DST

I never liked Daylight Saving Time because it seemed to take so long to get used to it. My job required me to travel in the morning and I would see students standing along the highway in the dark waiting for the bus and thinking how dangerous it was. Also I have one more hour of daylight before I go to bed requiring me to turn down my air conditioner longer. Where is the saving? I give up! Kansas, wake up!

daylight saving time

I'm tired of changing the clock all the time, they have us on daylight saving longer then our standard time. LEAVE THE CLOCK ALONE! We should have our standard time and be done. ?You gain nothing with daylight saving it is much better to have the daylight in early morning and guess what in summer it stays light out longer in evening anyway because its summer. Wake up people . The state of nd needs to get rid of daylight saving time.

DST

I'm not in favor of clocks going forward nor backward. Just leave well enough alone.

Should have happened years ago

I'm so tired of this outdated, misleading disruption to our lives. Its a fact that this practise is more of a hazard than a help and should be stopped. Everything in this article explains why its bad for us and how we can permanently make the change. I dread when this change happens as it disrupts a normal rhythm. March 14 should mark the end of this useless waste of time (no pun, its just stupid).

March 14 as the new permanent standard time

I am in favor that the clocks go forward 1 hour for the last time on March 14 and the time becoming the new standard time, with much of Arizona as Pacific Time and Saskatchewan as Mountain Time.

DST

Hello I just want Congress to stop DST please we’ve already dealing with pandemic the stress of winter darkness and on the top of it the DST just keep it spring time thank you.

Daylight Savings Time

I have always been in favor of DST, and keeping it year round! I am a logical thinking person, so to me, longer daylight hrs, is favorable, ESPECIALLY, in Winter! Who could possibly think it's a good thing to get dark at 5:30 in the afternoon, in Winter? I hadn't thought about it, but I agree with the person who said, meet in the middle, move time up 30 min, instead of 1 hr! That should please most.

DST

Why don’t we just spring forward .30 min and meet in the middle?

Time Change

Please do something make Congress acknowledge that we are better off with Day Light Savings Time all year it saves on electricity and Climate Change and kids go to school in light then dark it’s better to have light in the winter months not so long dark and dreary I say Spring Forward and Stay Forward

Making DST permanent.

I would prefer to stay on Daylight Savings Time year round. Having young children, I can see schools possibly needing different Winter/Summer hours, but see no need for society to change their clocks for the Winter. Having extra daylight in the evening, I feel, is a lot better than being dark early. It makes the commute home better with extra light, and gives people more time to do things outdoors in the evening.

Keep it, or stay off it - Pick one!

I've hated daylight savings time my entire adult life. Either stay on it or stay off it - pick one - and let's save lives in America!

DST

I am all for keeping DST here in Washington. I have hated changing the clocks for years. Especially falling back when you work the night shift and you get to do that hour all over again.

Daylight Savings Time

I strongly oppose changing our time in Fall and Spring. I support adopting DST year round.

Keeping Daylight Saving Time all year round

Place this issue and the ballot and allow the public make the decision..........uniformity is vital!!!!!!
With Americans living all over the country it’s important to have some degree of uniformity............time zones of course would remain the same.......

Abandon DST permanently

As an Arizona resident, I would encourage simply abandoning DST completely. We never change our clocks and only have to make adjustments on calculating time differences with other states (except Hawaii). I hate getting up in the dark, but I'm happy to do it for a few weeks if I can see the sun set at a reasonable hour in the summer.

Day lights savings

We voted in Florida to eliminate this and we still waiting, is always an excuse from our representatives in congress to get the job done for we the people voted for, get this done and stop all excuses.

Time change

I would love to see the time remain the same all year long. It is very hard for my body to adjust. Preferably daylight time all year. I just don't think there is a valid reason for putting us all through the change twice a year.

Daylight Saving Time

PLEASE KEEP DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ALL YEAR FOR NEW JERSEY.

Keep daylight saving time ON

I HATE having darkness at 430pm !!!! Absurd !!! I get out of work and can't do anything productive outdoors. Why not MOVE the clocks FORWARD again in winter so we can actually fight the darkness hour. Then I can wake up to a sunrise and see a late sunset everyday !

Daylight Savings Time

It would be wonderful to have daylight savings time all year in California.

DST

Like seemingly everyone else here, I strongly support doing away with the twice yearly time change and instituting Daylight Savings Time permanently. Having more daylight available in the late afternoon/early evening is much more useful and helpful to most than early in the morning.

Pages