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 Investment Time

Saving used to be enough, but these days you just can't get anywhere at that rate. What we need is Daylight Investment Time to really make the most of our days. We should jump forward an hour (or two!) every year and NOT fall back. Thanks to the Time Value of Sun and with Light Compounding, as we accelerate we can actually reap the benefits of tomorrow TODAY! Imagine how fast we could progress if we set the clocks forward an hour every month!!!
"Permanent Saving Time" is ridiculous. It makes sense to have noon be when the sun is approximately overhead and midnight be when it is approximately underfoot; any other label is just arbitrary. Frankly, I'm tired not only of DST but of time zones in general and wish we'd all just settle on UTC.

Time changes 2x yearly

Changing the clocks has the same effect on me as jet lag. It doesn't really mater if it's in the spring or fall. I feel disoriented, slightly nauseas and out-of-sorts for at least a week and sometimes as long as 2 weeks. However, if I'm really, really busy every day after the change, it helps me ignore the effects of the change. And the dogs just think it's plain old bs. What? All of a sudden it's not dinner time yet?????
Pick one and LEAVE IT ALONE!

Keep DST Permanent....

As a Registered Nurse living in the Northeast, I have worked the evening shift for most of my career. Every year when we "fall behind", I must come home from work on Saturday night and set all my clocks back....the extra hour of sleep only lasts one night. Exactly who benefits when it is dark around 6PM-in mid December it is dark at approximately 4:30PM? For example,on the evening shift, elderly patients sometime become more confused and think it's bedtime and resist staff's efforts to encourage ambulation in the evening. Because I'm not a "morning person", I do errands later in the day and it usually is dark by the time I get to the supermarket. Driving becomes more hazardous in the cold weather, and there is more traffic accidents due to driving on icy roads, depression increases as people spend more time indoors,and less opportunity to walk during evening hours due to safety concerns. I realize some have concerns regarding children leaving for school when it is dark, however, children aren't driving cars. School hours could be adjusted to benefit everyone.

I'll Follow the Sun

Changing the clocks forward an hour and then turning them back to "normal time" a few months later is just another example of how stupid humans can be.

I would like to stop this practice but I do not want it to change to a permanent DST. I prefer to have the clocks represent that actual sun time -- as near as possible, that is, which is "standard time."

People's biorhythms are affected --some more than others (and I am one of those "more")-- when we are in daylight savings time.

Let's just keep time the way clock makers intended it to be kept.

Keep Daylight Saving Time

Keep Daylight Saving Time all year long. Kids can deal with dark mornings on their way to school in the winter. More outside time and exercise in the afternoon keeps us healthy and happy. Leave our body clocks in sync.

DST

If in fact it causes more heart attacks, car accidents, miscarriages. Why are we still changing time. Leave it alone. Please!
NO MORE TIME CHANGE!!!!!!!!!

Time change

I'm now 70 y/o and I just changed my clocks yet AGAIN !! Feedback increases more every year of the general public being fed up with changing time twice. It's been proven to not be healthy both physically and mentally. So congress just eliminate it already.

DST

Please let us stay the same, the time change affects too much, including health. It is time for Congress to listen to the public. To me darkness is not protective or safe especially with seniors.Enough is enough listen to us.

End the clock change

We need to end the changing of clocks twice a year. Be it DST or ST it is too disruptive and serves no real purpose. End it. DST is fine.

DST

Hopefully when the clocks move forward in March that will be the last time we have to change them. DST should be the standard. It gets dark too early in winter. My mind and body have an aversion to darkness at 4:30pm! A later sunrise is much more palatable than an early sunset.

DST

Split the difference by 1/2 an hour, and call it a day! PS... check out Newfoundland Time; it's worked for them for many years!

time change

Leave the time alone.
Working outside is easier in the late afternoon after the heat of the day
goes away ex 2pm vs 630
People that work during the day have more light after work.
School activity's can go on a little longer.
The sun does not pay attention our clocks.
I have not seen a animal that keeps track of time,they go with mother nature.
When it gets dark sooner I want to go to bed sooner,being retired I don't set a alarm anymore.

leave dst alone one way or the other

I DON'T LIKE DST. I DON'T LIKE HAVING TO CHANGE ALL MY CLOCKS BACK AND FORETH. WHOEVER THOUGHT THIS DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO BUT SIT ON HIS OR HER DEAD A-- AND THINK UP SOMETHING STUPID. I WENT THROUGH MY SCHOOL YEARS WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS SO ITS NOT REALLY FOR THE KIDS.

DST

I don't like DST at all. The days are short enough and having it get dark by 3:00 in the afternoon is awful. Let us keep our daylight, the winter months are long enough as it is. I really wish they would stop DST.

NO to DST

Daylight Saving time my foot! It does not save enough energy and saves nothing else. Forget what the clock says, there are the same number of daylight hours. It's based on the season and the angle of the earth in relation to the sun and can't be changed just because the clock hands are artificially adjusted. DST should be abolished and standard time observed year round. School start and / or end times may need to be adjusted. The clock most certainly does not need adjusting at any time of year.

TIME CHANGE

Having lived many years through DST, the time change is difficult on all ages. As I have gotten older, I am more aware that nature moves and changes with the Creator's "clock" (the sun). As God's creatures, we should not be tied to an abnormally time-changed clock, but rather move with the seasonal changes of increasing and decreasing daylight. It is good for us. It is the way we are created. Trying to "create" more daylight for ourselves only leads to more harried activities being jammed into the day, thus causing more stress and, in effect, making our days seem shorter and speeding by quickly. Let's slow it down.

No more DST

I despise DST. My body never adjusts to it, and I’m always tired in the morning during DST. Leave Standard Time as the permanent time—it’s what syncs with my natural state, and the natural states of children, teens, and young adults.

Time Change

Leave it one way or another!! Please!

No more time changes

I hate 4 months November December January February because of the time change.

Seasonal Clock Changes

Leave the clocks alone. Let's stay on Standard Time. With DST my body is always tired and time moves too quickly.

Daylight longer

I hate getting dark at 5 in the evening. Everyone I know don't like leaving work in the dark... its okay going to work with dark or that dark becoming light but not going home in the dark. Because basically most people who have to work until 430 or 5 pm don't get to enjoy some hours of daylight especially if you have make any errands after work! Spring forward and stay no going back in the Fall! Period! So whatever that is called - longer sunlight!!!!! No dark at 5pm!!!!! Not good for working folks or school kids - we need light to get home from work and school..... period!

TIME CHANGE PREFERENCE

I prefer remaining on Standard time and ceasing DST.
DST does not save energy - a prime concern with global warming
DST has adverse affects on our health
DST has negative affects on our children/students
DST change of clocks/time is a nuisance and takes a week to adjust to physically thus affecting our daily lives and work efficiency

It's time is past and no longer useful.

Changing Clocks

Pick one and be done. Besides, having to set clocks back and hour is annoying and time consuming.

DST

I am really tired of this stupid non sense idea!
Why can't we have a "normal" time all year?
Need to get rid of it, I hate it!!

Leave it at 1 time , changing

Leave it at 1 time , changing it continuously takes time off your life.

Time Change

I actually prefer daylight saving time, but whichever way, leave well enough alone. I think that children going to school should not go home in the dark.

DST

It is the most ridiculous thing to do. It messes everyone up. It takes time to readjust our systems. Our bodies do not like it. They always blamed the farmers but they don’t never wanted it either.
How do you tell a cow you have to milk them an hour earlier? That’s nonsense. We need to leave it the way it is right now. Why has Hawaii, Arizona And the US island been able to stay the way it is. Why is it so hard to leave it alone. Most people don’t want to keep changing the clocks. Yes get rid of fall back. When it’s time to spring ahead this coming spring leave it alone. That gives the powers to be time to get this taken care of. Thank you

Dst

ABOLISH IT!!!! STANDARD TIME IS NATURAL.... LEAVE IT alone!!!!

D S T

Im a dst fan , im retired and i love it being light longer in the evening , i would like to see the time not change at all so lets get it done

Clocks;

I say Standard Time year around; if you have DST year round; its dark until 8 AM in winter;

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