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 Savings Time Year Round!

EVERYONE is awake at 4:00 pm, but I bet less than HALF the population is up and about at 7:00 AM! Night owls, people!
Let’s stop the madness. Imagine, sun only goes down at 5:00 pm in December-January? That would be great!
Let’s never go back to Standard Time. Enough already. 2020 has been a time of unprecedented change, at least let’s make some of that change positive.
Go DST!
- Patrick Fulop

DST Leave it ALONE

It Simply does Not make sense to keep changing our clocks. I'm going to bet, that no less than 95% of people would rather have more light in the afternoons after work than a. Earlier sunrise. I mean, there is Only 24 hrs in every day, THAT cannot be changed. People get home in the afternoons, and have no time to do anything that needs doing before it is Dark. But they can't do those things in the mornings. Not only that, there are statistically many more people that get serious bouts of depression after the Fall time change☹. It being dark in the early afternoons, people use more electricity and are less productive. Just Leave the TIME ALONE! This next Spring, let's just spring forward and STAY!!!

Keep daylight savings time.

It makes absolutely no sense to keep flip flopping the time back and forth. It get dark naturally anyway, the earth moves farther from the sun causing it to get darker sooner, it is totally stupid and a waste of time. I think it’s the government showing how willfully they can control us as a people.

daylight saving time - not

I vote staying with the standard sun time. Let the earth and sun be themselves without people interference. We are, ultimately, only along for the ride on this planet, unless or until people blow up or destroy it. In the northern regions of the US, the mornings AND evenings eventually are dark in winter, regardless of Standard or DST. There is no way to change that unless one moves closer to the equator.

Keep DST

Keep current DST schedule but states that want permanent DST can move ahead to a new time zone without DST changes. In Cincinnati, Ohio permanent EDT would result in 9 AM sunrises in the winter like that that occurred in 1974 and before that 1943 during WWII. During WWII Ohio actually went from EWT to CWT likely because of the 9 AM sunrises during War Time. Congress suspended year round DST October 1974 to February 1975. However in the summer many people enjoy the 9 PM sunsets thanks to EDT. The reason for the 1966 Uniform Tie Act was the mass confusion when some observed with different starting and stopping dates.

DST

It’s stupid and annoying! However, whatever we do, we should do it nation-wide. We don’t need any more confusing crap in our lives at this point

DST

It’s stupid and annoying! However, whatever we do, we should do it nation-wide. We don’t need any more confusing crap in our lives at this point

DST

It’s stupid and annoying! However, whatever we do, we should do it nation-wide. We don’t need any more confusing crap in our lives at this point

Why change clocks

Year round consistency will never happen with the Feds running things. When was the last time they ever listened to the people?

Time change

End it in Delaware, its depressing to get dark so early and it will stay warmer longer, easier to drive that at night.
End it please

Daylight Savings Time

I agree with those that have responded - DST is HORRIBLE to put it lightly! It gets dark way too early - I can’t even take my dog for a walk after he finishes eating without bringing a flashlight so we don’t get run over! Not to mention, kids don’t have time to play and unwind when they get home from school. We are not living in the “dark ages” anymore (no pun intended, but.....) - let’s do away with this archaic belief that we need to “fall behind”. You would see a LOT more people being healthy - both physically and mentally if we had additional daylight time.

Daylight Savings!

Let's stick with Daylight Savings Time. Falling back is depressing with it getting dark so early. The day is too short and bleak. I've lived in many states- by far the worst is Northern Idaho and Eastern Wa.- sunset is about 3:45pm in Nov. Kids get off a school bus in the dark. It's terrible. Let's keep the sunshine later in the day! Stop the falling back!

Daylight Savings Time

I hate when we fall back. Can't stand for it to be dark at 445. I wish it would just be left alone. People get more exercise when it's light longer, people get out more and shop when it's light longer. It's so hard going back and forth and for no reason at all. The 60s are long gone time for change.

DST

Here I thought it was the farmers' fault. Thank you for clarifying! Please keep the time the same. It is tough on everyone's circadian rhythm to mess with the clock. There are 24 hours in a day, and standard time vs DST will not change that.

Time Change

Just choose one or the other but stop this business of changing twice a year.

DST

Please leave the time as it is in Spring and Summer. Getting dark at 5:00 p.m. is so ridiculous! Much prefer more daylight in the early evenings to be outside after work/school. Get some outdoor exercise, fresh air, interaction with others. Also, a lot of retail businesses have changed hours since COVID and running errands a bit safer with daylight as most are open after 5:00 p.m. but not very early in the morning. (Before people have to get to school, work)

Re: DST

I would like and prefer that WA State stay on Permanent DST. It makes it so nice to be able to enjoy the days and evening of daylight. Hate it when we have to fall back each year and that it gets dark by 4:15pm.
Want Permanent DST in Washington State !

DST

Please, let's just stop the nonsense!! Leave well enough alone and stop the time change twice a year. There is enough stress in life to deal with let's not perpetuate more. :) A penny for my thoughts.

DST is CRAZY!

The time is supposed to reflect the sun's movements. DST was crazy in the first place, crazier when it was extended, and would be absolute madness if made permanent. Can we just have REAL time? Noon, the sun should be at it's highest for the day....how hard is that?

To think that you can cut one end off the blanket and sew it to the other end to make the blanket longer is pure foolishness.

Change clock 1/2 hour

How about a just changing the clock 1/2 hour and leaving it. that way everyone gets a little of what they want

Abolish Daylight Savings Time

Simply abolish DST!

STAYING on Daylight Savings Time year-round is a DUMB idea.
STAY on STANDARD time year-round to to get rid of the twice-a-year idiocy!
This avoids ADDITIONAL UNNECESSARY confusion for consistent translation to & from UNIVERSAL TIME that COMPUTERS & the ENTIRE WORLD use as the STANDARD REFERENCE!

Schools & businesses & any other affected entities at various LATITUDES can always tailor their hours of operation to suit their specific needs without forcing CLOCK changes on EVERYONE!

Ideally: Live by the time-of-day that works for YOU - It's a 24-hour-per-day planet.

DST

I don’t like walking in the dark after work. I also battle with changing my car clock twice a year. I know people that don’t even bother doing it because us such s pain (Subaru). I see no point in it. I vote to abolish it.

Daylight Savings Time

It's a good system as it is. Keeping Daylight Savings time all year round would result in kids walking to school in the dark for half of the school year, and that's a bad idea.

DST Always

Who mows their lawn or rakes leaves in the morning? Well, I'm sure SOME people do. However I'm sure most people working 9-5 would rather have a little daylight at the END of their work day. Let's work to make this happen!

Stop Changing the Time,

I actually prefer daylight saving time, it's easier to deal with getting up as the sun is about to come up, than having the dark come early, leaving work in the dark, feeding the animals in the dark, children coming home from school in the dark. Let's let this stupid idea go away. What a relief it would be!

DST year round

Can’t imagine the sun coming up at 4 AM in the summer, at 45 degrees, if we were to be on standard time year round. Love late summer evenings in the daylight. Natural answer is DST year round.

Daylight savings time

Please let us stay with one and stop all this changing back and forth!!

Stop changing the time!

It is very difficult for the millions of us that are taking medications. Some medication must be taken every two hours, or every four hours, etc. I just makes it that much harder to stay on track with our regimen.

DSL

DSL year round. After school activities. An extra hour that families can have for family fun. An extra hour to do things after work or school. An extra hour for those who cannot drive at night. By the way, farmers work from dawn to dusk. That is the only "natural" time. Time zones are constructs by society that make the most sense for their area. Many older seniors also have "sunset" closing down which will occur by the sun, not whatever time we have set.

Standard Time is Natural

I think Daylight Savings time is unnatural and should be abolished.

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