It’s that time of the year when we set the clocks back one hour, returning to standard time and giving us an extra hour of sleep this weekend. 

What You Need To Know

  • Sunshine Act passed in the U.S. Senate in 2022

  • Current time change rules have been in place since 2007

  • Arizona and Hawaii remain on standard time year round

Yet this brings up the conversation of why not just stay on daylight saving time year round? Folks in Missouri keep that conversation ongoing and have gone as far as introducing bills into the state legislature.

However, it’s not that easy. The path to accomplish this includes federal approval.

Why we change the clocks twice a year

The United States began the concept of daylight saving time in 1918, during World War I, to save fuel. The thought was that by advancing one hour ahead, coal-fired energy would assist the war effort rather than that hour at home.

Standard time returned following the war and continued until World War II. After World War II, some states and even cities kept daylight saving time, creating various time zones within regions. Frustrated with no uniform time, the public pushed Congress to pass the Uniform Time Act in 1966.

This established the time frame that daylight saving time would begin the last Sunday in April and end the last Sunday in October.

In 1987, it extended to include the first Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October.

Part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the modern daylight saving time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

This current time shift began in 2007.

Not everyone participates

Hawaii doesn’t take part because of its location. With not much variation throughout the year between sunrise and sunset, it made little sense to switch the clocks. 

Only the Navajo Nation in Arizona observes daylight saving time. The rest of the state exempted itself in 1968. 

They cited the heat as their reason for opting out, adding that if they switched the clocks ahead one hour, the sun would not set until 9 p.m. in the summer, limiting nighttime activities.

Current legislation

The Department of Transportation oversees daylight saving time and all the country’s time zones. 

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “Federal law allows a state to exempt itself from observing daylight saving time, upon action by the state legislature, but does not allow the permanent observance of DST.”

19 states, have enacted legislation or passed resolutions to provide for year-round daylight saving time, but await federal approval.

Permanent standard time does not need federal approval. Nine states actively have legislation, as of Sept. 2023, that would end daylight saving time and stay on standard time year-round. 

Those states are:

  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont

However, none of these pieces of legislation have passed and are all marked ‘pending’ so the switch back to daylight saving time come March is inevitable.

Missouri and daylight saving time

Missouri introduced a bill in 2022, establishing “Daylight Saving as New Standard Time Pact."

This bill said that all areas of the state will no longer observe daylight saving provisions of federal law, meaning Missouri would permanently switch their clocks to daylight saving. However, the legislation failed. 

Of the eight states that border Missouri, five agree, rallying to change to permanent daylight saving time. 

Oklahoma would prefer to stay on standard time year-round, and Arkansas State Rep. introduced a bill in Dec. 2022 but then withdrew it in early Jan. 2023, citing more studies need to be done. 

Tennessee's Gov. Bill Lee was for ending time management in 2019, but only if there was federal support. 

Making it more difficult is that regardless of resolutions passed in state legislature, federal law does not allow full-time daylight saving time, thus, Congress would have to act before states could adopt changes.

Sunshine Protection Act

On March 15, 2022, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously in favor of the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time permanent, meaning Americans would no longer have to change their clocks twice a year to account for the time change. 

While the Senate passed the bill, 18 months later it remains stalled in the House and has not been signed into law by President Biden.

The future

For now, legislation to observe daylight saving time year-round remains pending.

Other states will continue to perform case studies and collect data to see if this shift is beneficial in saving energy, helping improve health and reducing crime.

And so we will change our clocks back one hour this Sunday and then on March 10, 2024, we will change the clocks forward one hour, returning to daylight saving time.

Based on my own poll conducted. The majority of people want permanent daylight saving time. 

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