Daylight saving time has been a source of controversy and debate for years, with many calling for an end to the bi-annual changing of the clocks. Efforts to make permanent daylight saving time have gained momentum, with lawmakers at both the state and federal levels introducing bills to “lock the clocks.” In this blog post, we’ll take a comprehensive look at these efforts and what they mean for Americans.
Twice a year, Americans adjust their clocks in a tradition known as daylight saving time. While this practice has been around for over a century, it has become a source of controversy and debate in recent years. Some argue that the practice is outdated and unnecessary, while others say it disrupts their daily routines and causes health problems. In response, lawmakers at both the state and federal levels have introduced bills to make permanent daylight saving time a reality. In this blog post, we’ll explore these efforts and what they could mean for Americans.
What is Congress Doing About Daylight Saving Time?
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has introduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023, which would make daylight saving time permanent. The bill has received bipartisan support in the Senate and has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. If passed, the March 12 changing of the clocks would be the final such event, and Americans would no longer “fall back” in November. A similar bill introduced by Rubio last year passed with unanimous support in the Senate but was not well-received in the House. Lawmakers expressed concerns about the impact the move could have on areas that rely on tourism or those with large farming communities.
What About States?
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.” At least 19 states have already enacted legislation or resolutions to make daylight saving time permanent. These states cannot make the change without congressional approval, or their neighboring states enacting similar legislation.
States with enacted legislation or resolutions include Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. California voters authorized a change, but legislative action has yet to happen. Massachusetts commissioned studies on the matter. In 2022, Kentucky and Mississippi approved legislation, both calling for Congress and the president to make daylight saving time permanent.
Legislators in Arkansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma have introduced bills to remain on daylight saving time permanently if Congress allows states to make such a choice. Lawmakers in Nebraska have introduced a similar bill with an additional caveat: a third neighboring state (Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri, or Kansas) needs to pass a similar law.
Two bills have been introduced in New Mexico: one to keep the state on standard time year-round, the other to make daylight saving time permanent as long as all or part of Texas (specifically, El Paso County, Texas) passes a similar law. In Texas, lawmakers are hoping to pass a resolution that would put the choice between permanent standard time or permanent daylight saving time up to voters in November.
Efforts to make permanent daylight saving time have gained momentum in recent years, with lawmakers at both the state and federal levels introducing bills to “lock the clocks.” While some argue that the practice is outdated and unnecessary, others worry about the potential impact on areas that rely on tourism or those with large farming communities. As of now, the majority of the U.S. will continue to observe daylight saving time and the twice-a-year tradition of changing the clocks