More States Moving to Keep Daylight Saving Time Permanent

Plus, DST is NOT for Farmers!

By Catherine Boeckmann
September 25, 2020
Clock in Grass
M.Vich/Shutterstock

As of this writing, 39 states have proposed legistation and nine states have enacted legislation to call for keeping daylight saving time year-round. Is it time to scrap this practice? Learn more about the myths of DST (it’s NOT for farmers), the latest news on states’ efforts, and weigh in with your thoughts!

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

When I grew up in the 1970s, Daylight Saving Time (DST) seemed popular. The government and schools seemed to promote it as a positive and beneficial force. When the clocks moved forward an hour in March, my mother would get a grumpy me out of bed and say, “Look! All you kids have more time after school to play outside!” (Yes, there was a time when more kids played outside.)

Interestingly, DST wasn’t a regular “thing” until April 12, 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law. The Uniform Time Act established a system of uniform (within each time zone) Daylight Saving Time throughout the U.S. and its territories. States were allowed to opt out (and some did).

Before then, 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 in 1918, the DST law (which lasted 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 which 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.

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Photo Credit: Zaccio/Shutterstock

So, Who Benefits From 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?

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.  

Does DST really conserve energy? According to Congress, this is the main reason for the switch. When the Energy Policy Act extended the hours in 2007, Congress retained the right to revert back should the change prove unpopular or if energy savings are not significant. 

  • 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, where I live, the change to DST in 2006 actually cost us. 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 use 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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Our Bodies, Our Health

Energy isn’t the only thing to be considered. What about our health? Polls show that the switch between Daylight Saving Time and Standard Time each year is miserable for most humans.

Clocks are man-made. Changing the time disrupts our body clocks or circadian rhythm. For most people, the resulting tiredness is more of an inconvenience twice a year. For many folks, however, it’s a more serious issue.

  • Studies show that lack of sleep leads to more 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.

You could argue it’s better for school children (not going to school in the dark); however, I’d disagree.

  • 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. Parents will certainly lose sleep and spend weeks adapting twice a year—and studies show that their happiness levels are lower.

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A Movement to Elminate Clock Changing

Only Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands don’t spring forward or fall back. 

  • 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. 

► See sunrise/sunset times in your area.

As of 2020, 39 states have now proposed legislation to change their observance of Daylight Saving Time in some way, according to the Congressional Research Service.

In the past three years, 9 states have passed bills to stop the switching of clocks—and stay on permanent Daylight Saving Time, if Congress were to allow it.

  • In February 2020, Utah passed a bill to end the practice of “springing forward.
  • Maryland recently introduced a similar bill which will heard in committee on March 5, 2020. 
  • In January, 2020, South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill to make daylight savings time permanent.
  • California also has a bill which will be put to a vote in 2020.
  • In June, 2019, Oregon also passed a bill to keep the state on permanent daylight saving.
  • A bill in Washington State also proposes year-round daylight saving.
  • Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Washington, and Tennessee also passed bills in 2019.
  • In 2018, the Florida Sunshine Protection Act was passed in the state Legislature with overwhelming support for year-round daylight saving time.
  • Some states in New England—Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island all have bills in the works to adopt year-round “Atlantic standard time,” a zone that lies to the east of Eastern standard time, and opt out of daylight saving.

See a map showing pending and enacted bills in 2020 for all the United States

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.

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 stay on daylight saving 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 people 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 2019, the European Union voted to remove Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanently by 2021.

Each member country will have until April 2020 to decide whether to remain permanently on “summer time” or to change their clocks back one final time to permanent standard time, also known as “winter time.”

Other countries have already ended DST:

  • Argentina stopped daylight saving in 2009.
  • Russia ended its daylight saving in 2014.
  • Turkey ended DST permanently in 2016.

Just as is the case with North Americans, the EU population overwhelmingly wants to abolish DST. A poll was conducted in which 80% were in favor of eliminating it.

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

DST

Don't like it. I saves nothing, but cost more.

DST

Stop Dst
I am in favor of ending DST

DST

I have said for years that it is unhealthy to change the time. Before I retired the time change would mess with my mind for weeks. Since retiring it's not as bad, as I don't have the same time restraints. I could care less which time would be stable, just so it stays w/o a change~A

Time change

I'm in favor of ending the time change. All it does is cause confusion and changing clocks twice a year is a waste of time.

Scrap Daylight Savings

I reside in San Manuel Arizona and it's a pain when I need to call someone on the East Coast or ever someone in the MidWest.

end clock changes

We need standard time for our health and safety. We need morning light. Adjust your personal schedules if you like, but leave the clocks alone, please.

Daylight Savings Time

Please, please, please eliminate DST. Return America to standard time, PERMANENTLY. The animals will be happier, humans will have less accidents and heart problems. Four months of the year is not long enough to feel normal, for humans or the animals who are on schedules, like milk cows. DST serves no legitimate purpose. There are still only 24 hours in a day. See it like a blanket - pull the blanket down to cover your feet - your chest is cold. Pull the blanket up to cover your chest - your feet are cold. Never has made any sense to me.

DST Do Away with IT......

Like the Majority of the comments made...I too Hope Daylight Savings Time is do away with; Never to Return!!!!

Time change

I'd just as well see all this time change stop. Everyone I know has problems with it. Workers drag in and out, trying to adjust. Even the animals, my cats for example, do not understand why they have to wait. Worse yet, with children having to stand in the dark morning waiting for the bus. With so many children being abducted now days, don't think we, as a country, should allow our children to be placed in this situation. Stop changing the time!!

DST

No matter what we do (DST or EST), you CAN'T make "more" daylight!!!!!!!!! Leave it alone at EST (Eastern time zone).........with today's lack of a "normal" schedule, IT DOESN'T MATTER anymore.....obsolete, outdated and downright dangerous to our health!!!

Dst---st.

With dst one must go to bed while the sun is still up n shining to get 7- 8 hrs of sleep. The sun actually change the work hrs. Not the clock.

I think it should be Daylight

I think it should be Daylight Savings Time all year round. If it were standard time all year, the sun would come up just after 4 AM in the summer, quite early. On the other hand, if it were DST all year round, the sun would come up at around 8:30 near the end of December and early January, which is the latest sunrise of the year. I think you would get more out of your day with a later sunrise, and consequently, a later sunset.

DST

I absolutely LOVE DST I'm an outdoor person and love that it stays light longer!!

DST

I abhor it!!! It wrecks havoc with my biological clock === and to have it happen when there is not an equal balance to the daylight and nightlight makes it even worse. GET RID OF IT

Daylight Savings Time

With all the meaningless bills Congress votes on, how about one that most people want; no more daylight savings time. It wastes energy and is hard on our bodies creating more health problems. You'd think that Congress would want to "save energy" and "be more mindful of health issues." Go figure! Demolish DST!

DST

Please, stop the time changes.
And it has always been backward to me anyway. Need the day light in the
winter not the summer.

BC Canada

They just passed rules to stay on DST all year. This makes them the same as the time zone beside them, unless they follow their example.
FYI
I see and hear this mistake regularly, even on news reports. Revert means back “revert back” isn’t correct.

DST

Stop it altogether. It’s not healthy & it is expensive.

daylight saying time

its bad all the way around its is why some countrys dont do it any more so why should we thank you mjg

DST

Get rid of it. Only messes with sleep of people and family pets,and farmers. It serves no real purpose.

DST/EST

There is not an animal I know who needs or cares about time, except the human species. Standard time, please. I function much better, physically and mentally, on "winter time" and I won't have explain to the cat why his dinner is late.

DST

I would prefer to have Daylight Savings Time all year, but in any case just stick with one time or the other please.

DST vs Atlantic Time

Here in Maine, I believe that we should just change to Atlantic time with no more switching back and forth.

DST

Get rid of it. There are no benefits. It is simply disruptive.

End daylight savings time

As a teacher, I favor ending DST. Every spring I struggle to adjust for a few weeks. Before the time change in spring, I become accustomed to driving in morning light. Then change in time puts us commuters back in the dark.

I like DST

When we fall back I feel like it’s Christmas. I get up at what is now six am and it’s light out. I am well rested. I lived in Arizona for years where they don’t have DST. I hated it. It was pitch dark when my kids walked to the bus.

Dst

I'm in favor of keeping it year round daylight savings time.I deliver packages for a living and it's much easier to see a house in the daylight at 5:00 pm when it's light out not dark in the winter months

DST

Considering how the population of this planet is descending into chaos, and the massively devastating world war that is sure to follow, this is really a non-issue at this point in Human history!

We're all going to be forced back into the sundial era in the very near future, those of us that survive that is!

END DST

DST is about the stupidest thing our government has ever come up with. You still have the SAME number of daylight hours, no matter what the clocks say. As far as school... I started elementary school back in the 50's. The distance we lived from the school made us "walkers". I don't ever remember having to walk TO school in the dark or not having enough daylight walking home to stop at the creek and hunt to see what critters were still out and about.

Dst

We in California don’t like DST period!

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