In 2018, California voters approved Proposition 7, a ballot initiative giving lawmakers the power to pass legislation to make daylight saving time (DST) permanent. Ultimately, it didn’t get passed by both the Assembly and Senate, and it failed to meet its end-of-session deadline. California residents are not alone in wanting to eliminate biannual clock changes. The Sunshine Protection Act, introduced in 2021 by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and some bipartisan members of Congress, seeks to permanently extend daylight saving to 12 months. The proposed United States federal law would stop clock changes. Numerous other states, such as Alabama, Oregon, and Tennessee, are also pushing forward legislation to stop the “fall back” and “spring ahead” practices. But the states need the nod from Congress to effect change.
The Standard Time Act of 1918, also called the Calder Act, was the first federal law created to implement Standard time and Daylight-saving time in the U.S. Contrary to popular belief, the time adjustment was not done to help farmers. It was initially created in Germany in 1916. During World War I, the idea was to create more daylight hours to reduce consumption of fuel and coal. When the U.S. followed suit, farmers were opposed to the change. The law also established the five time zones in the U.S. In 1942, Congress would implement a law instating a national daylight-saving time to conserve fuel and promote national security and defense. After WWII ended in 1945, the states would establish their own standard time. However, in 1966, the Uniform Time Act was established to simplify when and where daylight saving time would occur and to establish a uniform DST in the U.S.
Only two U.S. states currently do not observe DST, Hawaii, and most of Arizona, along with some overseas US territories. Many American citizens are hopeful that clock changes can be ended. Results of a recent study show that of 75% who favor change, 32% wanted DST to be used all year and 43% said they wanted to see standard time (observed roughly for most of November to March) for the entire year. As folks in the US fall back and spring ahead, most dislike the clock changes and feel that DST disrupts their sleep, and they crave more daylight hours. While Federal law currently provides an avenue for states to exempt themselves from DST, doing so would put California on standard time – which they don’t want. There is currently no allowance for a year-long observance of DST. So, for now, California, is still having to “fall back.”
The DST period in the U.S. starts on the second Sunday in March when clocks are set forward by an hour. Then, they are turned back again to standard time on the first Sunday of November. People who favor permanent DST argue that people’s health and circadian rhythms are negatively affected by time changes. In addition, they state that DST saves energy and reduces traffic accidents and crime by matching human outdoor activities with daylight hours. As it stands, the Sunshine Protection Act, passed in the Senate in March of 2022 with an amendment by Unanimous Consent, will require House passage and President Biden’s signature to become law.
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