Update on Efforts to Adopt Permanent Daylight Saving Time: Where Do We Stand

 




Efforts to Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent in the US: What You Need to Know

As Americans prepare to lose an hour of sleep this Sunday with the start of daylight saving time, two bills introduced in Congress this month seek to make the time change permanent. Currently, clocks "spring forward" by one hour on the second Sunday of March and "fall back" an hour on the first Sunday in November. Daylight saving time is associated with later sunsets, while standard time is associated with earlier sunrises.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) introduced a bill on March 1 that would make daylight saving time permanent nationwide and eliminate the November time change. The senator introduced a similar bill in 2021, dubbed the Sunshine Protection Act, which passed in the Senate last March but died in the House in December.

A House bill introduced on March 8 by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Al.) would allow states to switch to permanent daylight saving time without congressional approval, which the Uniform Time Act currently requires. If passed, this bill would give states the power to opt in to permanent daylight saving time.

Supporters of permanent daylight saving time argue that changing times twice a year is a nuisance and no longer necessary to save fuel. However, scientists have linked the time change to health problems including circadian rhythm disruptions, higher risk for obesity, diabetes, high-blood pressure, and increased instances of workplace injuries, heart attacks, and even fatal car crashes.

Daylight saving time was introduced in the US during World War I as a way to increase daylight during working hours and save money on energy used to illuminate evening hours. Until 1966, states and local governments could institute their own time changes whenever they wanted, making it difficult for the transportation industry to coordinate travel between states. Now, states supporting permanent daylight saving time must wait for Congress to either pass legislation making daylight saving permanent for the whole country or allowing states to opt out of time changes without requiring congressional approval.

Some states have already taken action. In 2021, the Alabama legislature voted to make daylight saving time permanent, but the bill cannot go into effect until Congress acts. Other states proposing bills to make daylight saving time permanent include Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington.

Interestingly, while the Uniform Time Act requires states to ask Congress to switch permanently to daylight saving time, states can change to standard time without congressional permission. Arizona and Hawaii are both on standard time year-round.

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