Daylight saving time begins on Sunday, March 13, meaning Americans in all but two states will be settings their clocks ahead an hour and losing out on some sleep.
Not a fan of adjusting the time on your clock? Many lawmakers aren’t either, and have already launched attempts to keep us from having to change our clocks. Since 2015, at least 350 bills and resolutions regarding daylight saving have been introduced in nearly all states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Unfortunately, most of those didn’t pass.
Federal law says there are only two ways the U.S. can abandon daylight saving time changes: Congress enacts a federal law or a state or local government submits detailed information to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation “supporting its contention the requested change would serve the convenience of commerce.”
Two states — Hawaii and most of Arizona — observe permanent standard time, meaning they don’t change their clocks at all.
Standard time is the time between November and March. While the rest of the U.S. switches to daylight saving time, Arizona and Hawaii actually change time zones — Arizona shifts from the Mountain Time Zone to the Pacific Time Zone, while Hawaii transitions to six hours behind Eastern Time from five hours behind.
Which states are trying to change daylight saving time?
In the last four years, 18 states have enacted legislation or resolutions to keep residents on year-round daylight saving time, pending Congressional approval. In some cases, the legislation stipulates that neighboring states enact similar legislation.
These states have already enacted legislation or resolutions to adhere to year-round daylight saving time:
- California (authorized by voters, not yet enacted)
- South Carolina
This year alone, nearly 30 states are considering legislation regarding daylight saving time, according to the NCSL.
In some cases, even if the legislation passes, it won’t be able to take effect until its neighbors make the same move. In Iowa, for example, one of its pending bills says the state can’t leave daylight saving time until Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin enact similar legislation. To make it more complicated, Nebraska’s pending law says it won’t change until three of its adjacent states adopt similar laws.
There’s also a difference between what some states are hoping for, according to the NCSL. While most want to stick with daylight saving time year-round — meaning whatever time their clock is set to from March to November becomes permanent — some want to stick with standard time. Those include Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Washington.
What is Congress doing about daylight saving time?
Congress passed the first daylight saving legislation more than 100 years ago when then-President Woodrow Wilson signed the Calder Act. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, Americans were required to set their clocks to standard time on March 19, 1918, and then set their clocks one hour ahead on March 31.
Two years later, dozens of cities adopted their own daylight saving policies. By the mid-1960s, 18 states observed daylight saving while 12 stuck to standard time. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, setting into action the current daylight saving time schedule 48 states observe, the Smithsonian reports.
There are currently three proposed bills in Congress regarding daylight saving time:
- H.R. 5826, which would allow states to elect to observe year-round daylight saving time.
- H.R. 5906, the DAYLIGHT Act, to allow states to observe daylight saving time year-round.
- S. 623, the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, to make daylight saving time the new, permanent standard time.
There are a few industries that seem to benefit from daylight saving time. Among those is the Chamber of Commerce, Michael Downing, a professor at Tufts University explained in 2015. He said the Chamber “understood something very early on: If you give workers daylight, when they leave their jobs, they are much more apt to stop and shop on their way home.”
The Department of Transportation now credits Daylight Saving Time with conserving energy, preventing crashes, and reducing crime.
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