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

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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!!!!!

Daylight Savings Time

I wish we would stay on summer time so I can have more daylight during the winter months to get things done on my property. And would be nice if Rush hour traffic wasn't at night during the winter. Tired of my sleep schedule getting out of whack. I literally see no pros in keeping it.

Daylight savings time

Keep daylight savings time year round.

it doesn't matter if we change the clocks or not

it doesn't matter if we change our clocks or not. The bottom line is we can't change what Mother nature or how the sun orbits around the sun. The days are still going to get longer or shorter, there's more important things that needs to be done is this country rather than debating if we should change our clocks back or forward . There's always gonna be an increase in auto accident, heart Attacks , and other health problems. I think this is Ludacris.

DST

Daylight savings had no ties directly to farmers that rise and set with sun not clock. However, as children walked rode horses or bicycle to school the extra morning light made more visible and warmer as sun up. Today kids have buses live near a school or drive so earlier sun rise has little purpose but later sun sets allows more after school light for sports etc.

Time change

No. Keep DST

PermanrntvDST

I like year round DST. Please keep it year round.

Daylight savings time

Please Leave the daylight savings time. Do not change the time again PLEASE!!! It is the most DEPRESSING time ever when the time changes. If it changes to the other time I have to go to work in the dark and get off in the dark. I hate this time of the year for this very reason. Please please vote to keep this time!! Please!!!!

Time

I think the time should not change . Daylight saving s has no use in our society.It is a pain with no advantages.

DST

I say do away with it permanently. We don't want it.
Winter time is our natural time.

KEEP DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME PERMANENT

There are many more advantages to having Daylight Saving Time year round! When people get home from work or school, the extra evening daylight means more time to get things done at home, outside, including exercise time for both kids and adults, which means better health for everyone. Extra evening daylight also means more time for shopping, recreational activities, sporting events, and family gatherings which includes outdoor events like barbecues, which is good for the economy. Why is it that Daylight Saving time occurs 8 out of 12 months of the year? Because DST is the preferred choice! If you are worried about kids waiting for the school bus in the dark, then move the school start times forward one hour! Problem solved! WE WANT DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME MADE PERMANENT IN THE U.S.

DST

It's been more than annoying to have to change our clocks twice a year and have to spend days of not weeks adjusting to the time change. It serves no purpose. Someone start a petition. I'll gladly sign it.

Standard or Daylight? People's Location is the Issue

I definitely feel with the majority and vote yes to ceasing the spring/autumn time change! However, I can see the main people are having with which time; Standard or Daylight Time!! I lived in many locations in the states, and I had experienced being on the extreme edges of Eastern Time up Maine. To growing up on the western edge in Ohio also on Eastern. Also the same experience living in Chicago, on the eastern edge of Central Time. Then on to Arizona with no changing the clocks, which I loved, and I definitely understand why they opted out of DST I was happy to see the blazing sun set at 7:35pm!! However, in the winter, seeing the sun still up after 5pm was definitely a plus!!! By the way, in Portland, Me in the darkest day of winter, the sun sets at around 4:03pm which I understand why they would want to switch to Atlantic Time!

This is a complex situation, and while I dislike the changing of the clocks, I do prefer to leave them forward. Finally, referring to the time and schools. I feel if we were to leave the clocks on DST, since we're on DST longer than standard, why not have the schools begin an hour later?

DST MUST STOP

It’s been an absolutely ridiculous rule each year. Finally, with COVID-19 wrecking havoc on every part of life, this needs to be the final straw. We don’t need yet another intrusion into an already chaotic and challenging time.

DST

Pick one and stick with it. I don't care which one. If it's dark when school starts then change the time school starts.

STOP it!

The same things can be accomplished with stayng in spring back mode. The chaneges mess up my chedule, and I absolutely HATE it!

Stop DST

Daylight Savings Time should be stopped. We actually change our store hours to stay on Standard Time. It is very annoying. I hate that children have to wait in the dark for the school bus when they should be safe at home. Trying to get young children to settle down so they can go to bed at a reasonable time when the sun is still out is difficult at best. Why should they be expected to go to sleep when the sun is out and get up when it's dark. That makes no sense. If you ever tried to teach someone about a sundial or how to estimate the time by the sun they would be totally confused. Please just stay on Standard Time.

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