Action on daylight saving time continues around the country
May 17, 2022
•Land Line Staff
Activity afoot in statehouses around the country and in Washington, D.C., addresses the observance of time changes because of daylight saving time.
Elected officials from both sides of the aisle have been active in recent years to abandon the practice of changing clocks in the spring and fall. Among the reasons given by government officials for taking action on the issue is traffic safety.
Federal law does not require states to observe daylight saving time, but if they choose to follow the time change they must adhere to the dates set.
The U.S. Department of Transportation states that daylight saving time is observed because it saves energy, saves lives, prevents traffic injuries and reduces crime.
Critics counter the time changes may have been useful for some during a bygone era but it provides little if any real benefit.
Among the factors cited for doing away with time changes is vehicle crashes.
State action continues
Since 2018, elected officials in the majority of statehouses annually have at least discussed legislation to end the observance of time changes. During that time, 18 states have acted on the issue.
So far this legislative session more than 70 measures in at least 28 states have been offered on the topic.
Federal law permits a state to exempt itself from observing daylight saving time. Arizona and Hawaii are the lone states to take advantage of the exemption. The feds, however, do not allow states to stay on daylight time throughout the year. Instead, Congress must sign-off on granting states the privilege.
Florida lawmakers got the ball rolling on the issue in 2018 when the Legislature acted to adopt year-round daylight time.
One year ago, Alabama, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi and Montana enacted legislation. Others states to take action are Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and Wyoming.
Despite their interest in making the change, the states must wait for Congress to take action.
In 2015, the Nevada Senate adopted a resolution to encourage the feds to take action on the issue. More recently, legislatures in Arkansas, Oregon and Utah have done the same. The Kentucky and Mississippi legislatures have followed suit this year.
2022 daylight saving time legislation
In addition to actions taken at statehouses in Kentucky and Mississippi, the Colorado Legislature has approved a bill to allow voters to make the decision on whether to keep the state on daylight time throughout the year.
Assuming the federal government permits states to take action, the Colorado bill would move the state to year-round daylight time as long as at least four states in the Mountain Standard Time Zone do the same.
Montana, Utah, and Wyoming have already approved the change. Idaho has passed legislation for permanent daylight time only for the northern parts of the state in the Pacific Time Zone.
Sen. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood, said that his No. 1 priority is to stop changing the clock.
“This bill is about making sure that Colorado stays on track, stays aligned with the other states that we have in the Mountain Time Zone,” Bridges told the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.
“At the end of the day, the best data that we have, the best research we have, shows that changing the clock is the most deadly thing we can do. It increases heart attacks, it increases car accidents, it decreases productivity. We know that for sure.”
The Colorado bill, HB1297, has moved to Gov. Jared Polis’ desk for his expected signature.
Other state efforts
Legislative efforts from California to Pennsylvania are divided between states with legislation to keep DST year-round and others to abandon observance of the spring time change.
Most states that continue to address the issue are pursuing legislation to adopt daylight time year-round. States with legislation to stay on daylight time year-round: California, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
States with legislation to stay on standard time throughout the year have been offered in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
Federal action advances
In March, the U.S. Senate approved a bill to take action on the issue.
Congressional testimony has shown that nearly three-quarters of all Americans want to do away with time changes. The large majority of Americans wanting to keep clocks the same prefer staying on daylight time.
The Senate voted unanimously to advance the Sunshine Protection Act to make daylight saving time permanent for the entire country. House lawmakers must also act on the issue before it can head to President Joe Biden.
“The call to end the antiquated practice of clock changing is gaining momentum throughout the nation,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in previous remarks on the legislation.
Among the factors in support of the change is the benefit it would have for the economy. LL
More state trends
Keith Goble, state legislative editor for Land Line Media, keeps track of many trends among statehouses across the U.S. Here are some recent articles by him.