More States Moving to Keep Daylight Saving Time Permanent

Plus, DST is NOT for Farmers!

October 29, 2020
Clock in Grass
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As of 2020, an impressive 32 states have engaged in legislation to establish Daylight Saving Time (DST) as the official time year-round. Is it time to scrap this clock-changing practice? Learn more about the myths of DST (it’s NOT for farmers) and the latest news on states’ efforts, and weigh in with your thoughts! 

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. It seems simple, but ends up having a lot of unexpected implications.

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.

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

Pros and Cons of Daylight Saving

Today, the country has a synchronized Daylight Saving Time schedule. It’s not war time. Why do we continue to change our clocks?

Well, some constituencies profit:

  • For example, today, we drive our cars everywhere. The lobbying groups for convenience stores know this—and pushed hard for daylight saving time to last as long as possible.
  • 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.  

But Does DST Conserve Energy?

The U.S. Department of Transportation website states that DST saves energy. However, modern studies have challenged this conclusion:

  • Department of Energy report from 2008 found that the extended DST put in place in 2005 saved about 0.5 percent in total electricity use per day. However, the closer you live to the equator, where the amount of daylight varies little, the amount of electricity actually increased after the clocks were switched.
  • In Indiana, a more recent convert to DST, a 2006 study showed DST hurt the state. Matthew Kotchen, a Yale economist, found a 1 percent increase in electricity use in Indiana. Due to higher electricity bills and more pollution, Indiana’s change ended up costing consumers $9 million per year.
  • Further studies in 2008 showed that Americans used more domestic electricity when they practice daylight saving.

Today, as modern society marches forward, the energy argument may become obsolete. In terms of work, we’re not really a strictly 9 to 5 society any more. Factories have different shifts. Office workers use the internet. Farmers will use daylight hours, no matter what. At home, our electricity demand is no longer based on sunrises and sunsets. We drive instead of walking, which means daylight saving actually increases gasoline use. 

It’s quite possible we are now wasting energy. 

And with computers, TV screens, and air conditioning using more energy, more Americans find switching clocks increasingly unpopular.

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Health and Safety

Energy isn’t the only thing to be considered. What about our health and safety? For most people, the resulting tiredness is a minor inconvenience twice a year. For many folks, however, it’s a more serious issue.

The Department of Transportation claims (without any recent studies) Daylight Saving Time saves lives, prevents traffic injuries, and reduces crime. However, recent studies have shown negative impacts on people’s health and circadian rhythms because of time changes as well as a higher number of car crashes and workplace injuries in the days after a time change.

Think about it. It’s not surprising that the effect would be more negative. Clocks are man-made. Our circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats on each rotation of the Earth roughly every 24 hours. Whenever our basic circadian (daily) rhythms—the day/night cycle—are disrupted, it leads to slower thinking.

  • Studies have show that time changes result in a higher number of car accidents and heart attacks—the latter by as much as 24 percent.
  • Studies link the lack of sleep at the start of DST to workplace injuriessuicide, and miscarriages
  • In the workplace, studies have found that there is a decrease in productivity after the spring transition.
  • 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.

Some argue it’s better for school children (not going to school in the dark).

  • However, in the fall, we’re all coming home in the dark!
  • Teenagers definitely don’t do well with DST during the spring change, when they lose an hour of morning sleep.

And consider the parents with small children; the kid that gets up a 5 a.m. will now be getting up the equivalent of 4 a.m. until their internal clock resets.

► See sunrise/sunset times in your area.

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A Movement to Eliminate Clock Changing

Since 2015, more than 200 bills and resolutions have been introduced in virtually every state to either stay on standard time or convert to full-time DST.

Until 2018, not much happened. Then, a movement began and there are now 13 states which have enacted legislation to provide for year-round daylight saving time. 

  • In 2018, Florida voted to make DST permanent. 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 so far, six MORE states have  Utah passed a bill to end the practice of “springing forward.“ Joining Utah are: Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming. 

So Far in 2020

As of September 1, 2020, at least 32 states have considered 85 pieces of legislation, and six states—Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming—have enacted legislation.

State Laws Superceded

Ultimately, it’s a federal decision. 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 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. 

While it’s unclear if Congress will approve of this amendment, it’s what more and more citizens want, based on state legislation. 

Bottom-line: Today, even if a state governor signs a bill into law, it remains the intent of Congress to supersede any and all laws of the States

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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 March of 2019, the European Union voted actually voted in favor of abandoning seasonal clock changes! The draft law proposes that 2021 will be the last time EU Member States and affiliated countries will change their clocks. 410 members voted in favor of the draft, 192 were against, and 51 members abstained from voting.

However, as of this writing (October, 2020), plans for removing the time change have been pushed aside because of greater problems considering the COVID-19 pandemic and the long lasting Brexit negotiations, and time changes may therefore continue until 2022 or later.

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

Time change

I don't care whether we use standard or daylight savings time; just pick one and stop changing it!

Standard time: Love it or LEAVE IT

For those of you who have trouble remembering, it's traumatic on young children to be subjected to what amounts to jet lag twice a year just so mommy and daddy can play later at night and companies can squeeze an extra buck out of the public. Let your children develop naturally and there will be less stress at bedtime and waking time now and more well adjusted adults in the future.
God gives us the changing seasons and varying daylight hours. If you can't deal with it, move to Equador, COMMIE.

interesting divergence in article

It's interesting how in the US part of the article, the preferred option is to shift permanently to DST, which means that the eastern US, for example would align on the Atlantic/Maritime Canada time zone, whereas the European part of the article is explicitly about eliminating DST. Yet the author does not seem to be picking up on this nuance. Indeed, in the second to last paragraph, the author makes it sound as if both Americans and Europeans want to abolish DST (instead of making in permanent). Curious!

DST

wHY NOT MAKE SUNSET AT 8PM EVERY DAY. SHIFTING THE TIME JUST A LITTLE EACH DAY.

It's only time

I'm retired. I go to bed when I want and get up when I want. I'm an early riser, so when I'm up at 5 a.m., in a few weeks I'll be getting up at 4 a.m.

I have to make myself stay up later, so I'll wake up at a more convenient hour.

The good news is every day is still a holiday and every meal a banquet!

1/2 hour change is the best compromise

I've long since thought changing by a half hour would be the best option, which was also mentioned by at least one other posted response. There are valid arguments on both sides for which to keep permanently.

Why does it have to be an hour one or the other? Split the difference and be done with it. That way everyone wins or everyone loses, depending on how you want to look at it. Maybe that approach would even pass through Congress!

daylight savings time

I don't care if it's regular time or daylight savings time. Just quit changing it back and forth. America loses too much productivity over lost sleep and I have been saying this for years!!!

Year-round DST yes; ending DST altogether, no

I love light later in the evenings, and I really don't care if it's dark in the mornings, when I can't enjoy being outside in any event. Early sunsets are depressing.

My strong first preference is year-round DST. Far and away, my last preference is abolishing DST. I would keep the status quo -- time changes -- as a way of avoiding my last preference.

I Hate DST!

Whatever reasons existed for the original implementation of DST, they are no longer relevant. I always hated it because it took so long for my body to make the shift. Except for the longest days of the year I have always gone to work in the dark and came home in the dark. I hated that my kids had to go to school in the dark when they were just beginning their day. And it took a while for them to make the switch. I envy the animals who follow the light while we foolish humans think we can control time, and nature. Boy, are we stupid.

DST

I think we should have DST year round. Like someone said, there is only about 4 months difference. It’s much more convenient than the other. I live in Kentucky and I love DST!

It is incredibly ridiculous!

It's the most ridiculous idea. It's analogous to cutting 6 inches off the end of your blanket, and stitching it to the front of the blanket. When all you really need to do is shift the damn blanket! If people want to change their business hours of operation, so be it! They should have the individual right to do whatever makes the most economic sense FOR THEM. The main problem, as I see it, is that some major corporate businesses don't want to update their posted hours of operation twice per year. They prefer making the entire society change their clocks twice a year instead.

Daylight Saving Time verses Standard Time.

Why bother to change from daylight saving time to standard time. ( Two changes each year ). A pain! Essentially, standard time is only for 4 months, anyways. Why bother. Keep it all year on DST.

Petition to end the time changes going viral

Close to 200,000 people have signed to end biannual time changes. Medical experts have cited health risks and the practice is obsolete. #SickofSpringForward or #FinishedWithFallBack

Clock changes

I am a mid Michigan resident and livestock owner and I want the time to change back to standard and STAY there. Here in the north on DST our sunrise wont be until almost 9 am in November and December!!!

DST

Make it easy. The changing of clocks twice a year is senseless. Change it once more by 1/2 hour and leave it there. Those that want DST get half of what they want and those that want Standard time get half of what they want.

DST

My opinion is to end DST. That is, stay on standard time year round, NOT DST. Living in the Pacific Northwest means that in the winter the sun rises very late, almost 8:00AM. Staying on DST would push that time to nearly 9:00AM. Having sunlight in the morning makes it much easier to wake up. Having permanent DST isn't going to make the weather any more pleasant and springing forward in spring leads to increased fatigue and less productivity. If we're tired of springing forward and falling back then we should abandon DST altogether and stay on standard time permanently.

I like the way it is

Here in Boston, during the deepest part of the winter, the sun rises at around 7:13am (Standard Time). If we stayed on Daylight time, it wouldn't rise until 8:13am. That seems awfully late, and my kids would be leaving for school an hour before sunrise, and they would be in class for almost 45 minutes already before the sun even rises above the horizon. In the summer, I love the extra daylight time during the evenings when it's warm enough to enjoy being outdoors. While I do dislike coming home from work in the dark, I'd be doing that anyway, even if we stayed on Daylight time year-round (the earliest it sets is 4:11, and that would be 5:11 on Daylight time, when I'm still at work). I'm less likely to go outside when I get home in the winter anyway, because of the cold, so it's not a big deal. Keep it like it is, and we get reasonably light mornings in the winter, and nice long evenings in the summer.

Stay on Standard Time!

I live in Florida and would prefer DST to stop and stay on standard time all year long. The reality is that we only have so many hours of daylight in the winter, and it's a school safety issue for children to be going to school in the dark. Many people are working at home now, and so driving home in the dark isn't as much of an issue. Many people are home by dinner time when it is dark anyway. People are thinking of tourism here in Florida, but not about children's safety in the morning. I don't understand why people are actually thinking they are getting more sunlight. It's better as far as reducing energy consumption. We need to just stay on standard for the entire year and get rid of DST!

Stay on Standard time

Why on earth would Californians and other Pacific coast places want to be on Denver time? Mountain time zone is what we are equal to on PDT, and the place where that is closest to ‘real’ sun time is Denver (or, to put it another way, Denver is on the central meridian for its time zone.). California is actually very close to sun time when we are on Standard time, so let’s stay that way. Agreed this going back and forth is annoying. Let people who really want to do it adjust their own hours.

Daylight Savings

Thanks for an informative article. Even if DST is abolished, businesses and schools in various localities could adjust their schedules to times most appropriate to their region. While that might introduce more confusion, it is under local control. Today with international businesses and sports across time zone lines, we're getting used to scheduling with colleagues and friends taking into account their local time. While I personally like later sunsets. One would think that retirees could set their own time, but somehow we still seem to get forced into the local construct.

DST

As A professional driver, I would prefer DST to be permanent, Why? Because People are well rested in the am and driving to work in the dusk are less likely to have an accident than they are driving home in the dark in a fatigued state. Also it gives people more time to enjoy the outdoors after work.

DUST

I prefer DST. Come on Nevada. End this annoying time change now so we don't have to fall back in November

DST

I prefer permanent DST. Winter evenings are too long and dark on standard time. Every time change takes me two months to fully adjust.

DST

I prefer permanent DST. Once a person leaves work, it gives time to spend with family outside, or other activities.

Daylight saving time

I love daylight saving time I hope it will co tinue to stay on daylight saving time...i do a lot of yard work so i like that it doesnt get dark early plus i like to sleep late so having the sunlight late in the day is perfect for me and mostly i can go to town later without it getting dark before i get back home...please keep daylight saving time thanks ❤

Wow, a defense for everything!

Ok so DST can be an annoyance and sure it is a "slight" adjustment, but I have to really question the validity of all the arguments presented here against it. The article mentioned some areas that have done away with it, but failed to elaborate on whether and in what ways this really impacted life and made things better. The article says "imagine telling a cow... [they have to get milked an hour earlier, or later]." I somehow do not think this will be a major adjustment for a cow. Yeah I get the whole thing about body clock, but can it be proved scientifically that humans must rise a a particular time or go to sleep at a particular time? Or that a cow must be milked at a certain hour each day? I think the article goes overboard in favor of DST. I am not commenting to present an argument against it. I am just saying. I do think people enjoy that extra hour of daylight at the end of the day, especially in a society in which so many are on the daily work schedules we have. Bottom line I don't see that it is really such a big deal, more like an small, short lived annoyance we go through twice a year. Please present some evidence on real benefits in areas that have eliminated it. With the schedules we keep these days, it actually seems more likely people people would benefit from additional daylight at the end of day (after they get out of work or school) than before. As for any "depression" noticed after the fall change this may just be related to the fact we are going into winter and overall experiencing more cold and less sunshine. So the article puts out a thought worthy argument, but does not seem to be able to substantiate these arguments in amounting to much of anything.

Time Change

I have read many of the comments concerning Daylight Saving Time verses Standard Time and the actual act of changing the clocks. I can honestly say I see both sides of the argument. What it appears everyone agrees on though, is the disruptive time change needs to stop. I'm also pretty certain we can all agree that there is absolutely no way to make everyone happy. The best suggestion I have read so far is to split the difference and then stop changing. For example; if we are now on DST, when the November time change comes about we only go back 30 minutes and then stay put...no more changing. It seems like the most fair solution for all involved.

DST

Help us keep EST!!! If someone sits up in a office and dictates let him find something worth while!
I for one HATE the change!!! Bred and born on EST!!!

Time change

It amazes me that people think they are getting more "daylight" with daylight savings time. Nature only has a set amount of daylight during the year. The days get longer during the summer either way pushing the clock ahead an additional hour is pointless and just a hassle. The clocks need to stay standard time stop the spring forward nonsense.

Daylight savings time

The State of California voted to stay on daylight saving time in 2019. The feds were supposed to vote on it during the summer of 2020. Apparently they were too busy fighting and finger pointing to resolve it.

Meantime, the House in California approved it last year, but the idiots in our Senate could not be bothered. Too busy taking vacation or finding issues to fight about like the feds??

They probably do not have to get up in the morning and go to work so they don't care like us working stiffs. I AM SICK OF THE TIME CHANGING AS ARE OTHERS AND IT NEEDS TO STOP!!!!!

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