Daylight saving debate: More states move to stop switching time

National

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Most states across the U.S. will “spring forward” into daylight saving time next week but momentum is growing with legislation in more than a dozen to stick with one or the other.

The daylight saving time (DST) period in the U.S. begins each year on the second Sunday in March when clocks are set forward by one hour. While it means we lose an hour of sleep, it also means more daylight later in the afternoons. This year, daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. local time Sunday, March 14.

Clocks will be turned back again to standard time on the first Sunday in November, allowing for eight months of extra afternoon sunshine. But some have raised concerns about safety in those darker early morning hours as children head to school. Others don’t like the disruption of switching back and forth twice a year, and one recent study revealed that DST can increase the risk of deadly car accidents by six-percent following the week after the time change.

Federal law allows states to pass laws exempting themselves from observing daylight saving time but does not allow the permanent observance of DST. Currently, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and most of Arizona do not observe daylight saving time.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 350 bills and resolutions have been introduced in virtually every state since 2015 that would either place the state on standard time permanently or make permanent daylight saving time (DST) if federal law was changed to allow it, but none of significance passed until 2018, when Florida became the first state to enact legislation to permanently observe DST.

Since then, 15 more states have enacted legislation or passed a resolution to provide for year-round daylight saving time if Congress were to allow such a change. In some cases, the legislation also requires surrounding states enact the same legislation before it can go into effect.

The 15 states are:

In 2020: Georgia (resolution), Idaho, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming.
In 2019: Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington.
In 2018: Florida (California voters authorized such a change in 2018, but legislative action is still pending).

Last year, proposed legislation in Oklahoma that would have exempted the state from having to observe DST failed. New legislation proposed this year would make daylight saving time year-round.

In Texas, lawmakers have proposed four different resolutions this year that would effectively let the voters decide between daylight saving time and standard time in a statewide referendum.

There currently is a bill in the U.S. House called the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 that would make Daylight Saving Time the new, permanent standard time nationwide. A hearing on that legislation has yet to be held.

According to a poll last year by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 7 in 10 Americans preferred not to switch back and forth, but there was no agreement on which time clocks ought to follow.

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