Permanent time observation in the United States


Permanent standard time refers to the year-round observation of standard time. Likewise, permanent daylight saving time refers to the year-round observation of daylight saving time (DST). Both permanent standard time and permanent DST eliminate the practice of biannual clock changes, specifically the advancement of clocks by one hour from standard time to DST in spring (commonly called "spring forward") and the retraction of clocks by one hour from DST to standard time in fall ("fall back"). In the United States, Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, and all territories observe permanent standard time. Observation of permanent DST is forbidden by the Uniform Time Act.

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 formalized the specification of time zones and the dates of DST observation in the United States. Prior to this law, time zones and DST observation in America were independent and erratic across states and cities.[1][2] The law requires states to change clocks biannually between standard time and DST on federally mandated dates, and it permits states to opt out of DST observation altogether and remain on permanent standard time. It does not permit observation of permanent DST.

Studies have shown the semi-annual clock changes result in sleep disturbances, ultimately resulting in more health problems and traffic accidents.[3][4] Legislators in 25 states have attempted to switch to either permanent standard time or permanent DST. Currently more states are pursuing permanent DST with the Pacific Time Zone closest to adoption. However, they are awaiting permission from the United States Congress before any changes can be made.[5]

Permanent standard time


Prior to the introduction of DST, all American states observed permanent Standard Time. Presently, Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, and all US territories observe permanent standard time. A number of states have proposed bills to restore observation of permanent standard time, but few have yet to gain ground.[6][7][5]

Permanent standard time is considered by circadian health researchers and safety experts worldwide to be the best option for health, safety, schools, and economy.[8][9][10][3] They warn that the human body "never adjusts"[4] to DST, and that permanent observation of DST would result in "permanent social jet lag".[9] Experts such as Dr. Till Roenneberg argue that evidence from extreme edges of time zones, extensions of DST, and permanent observation of DST demonstrate this phenomenon "significantly"[3] increases rates of disease and accidents, and lowers productivity and wages.[11] In 2018, the European Sleep Research Society, European Biological Rhythms Society, and Society for Research on Biological Rhythms (SRBR) released a joint statement to the EU Commission on DST in opposition to permanent DST and in support of permanent standard time.[12] The SRBR followed with its own more comprehensive statement and set of materials supporting the same position in 2019.[13] In August 2020, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine provided a statement on why they oppose permanent daylight saving time and favor permanent standard time.[14]

Permanent standard time is supported by advocates for school children, including the National PTA, National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, National School Boards Association, and Start School Later. They cite both the health benefits of circadian alignment, and the safety advantages regarding morning commutes.[14][15][16][17]

It is supported by certain religious communities, such as Orthodox Jews, whose daily prayers and other customs are synchronized with times of sunrise and sunset.[18][19][20]

It is supported by environmental evidence, owing to evidence that DST observation increases driving, morning heating, and evening air conditioning, which all in turn increase energy consumption and pollution.[21][22]

Permanent daylight saving time


A change in federal law would be necessary to allow states to observe DST permanently all year. A number of states have pursued state bills, resolutions, and referendums to indicate intention to observe permanent DST if federal law would permit it.

In 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio introduced to Congress the "Sunshine Protection Act", a bill to permit states to observe permanent DST. The bill has achieved referral to committee, but it has yet to receive a hearing.[23][24][25][26] Also in 2021, Florida Republican Representative Vern Buchanan introduced a daylight saving time for the whole country, by changing everyone's time zone forward by an hour (Eastern Time would become permanently UTC-0400 instead of UTC-0500). That bill also allowed states to opt out under certain conditions.[27]

As a work-around to the Uniform Time Act's prohibition on permanent DST, a bloc of states in New England has proposed a statutory move from the Eastern Time Zone to the Atlantic Time Zone (Atlantic Time being one hour ahead of Eastern Time), and then abolishing biannual clock changes. If approved by the Department of Transportation, such a move would effectively put these states on permanent DST without needing to await amendment to the Uniform Time Act by Congress. Similarly, on the West Coast, Washington state passed both a bill for permanent DST (which again cannot be enacted without change to federal law by Congress) and an alternative bill to move the state's official observation from the Pacific Time Zone to the Mountain Time Zone.[28]

Possible benefits and disadvantages

Seasonal observation of DST was first enacted in the US during World Wars I and II, as an attempt to conserve fuel. The practice was unpopular and promptly repealed after each war; however, lobbyists from the petroleum industry lobbied to restore DST, as they had noticed it actually increased fuel consumption. Petroleum lobbyists joined with lobbyists from golf and candy corporations in the 1980s to form the National Daylight Saving Time Coalition, and they have twice since succeeded in extending the length of DST's observation from six months to seven in 1986, and again to eight months in 2005.[1][18][21][29][30] The observation of DST has also been found to increase residential energy costs and pollution costs by several million dollars per year.[31]

A meta-analyis by Rutgers researchers found that Permanent DST would eliminate 171 pedestrian fatalities (a 13% reduction) per year.[32]

Previous observation of year-round daylight saving time

Permanent DST in the US was briefly enacted by President Nixon in 1974, in response to the 1973 oil crisis. The proposal was initially supported by an estimated 79% of the public; that support dropped to 42% after its first winter, owing to the harshness of dark winter mornings that permanent DST creates. An estimated six school children were also killed by motorists due to the new law. The new permanent DST law was retracted within the year.[1][2][33][34] Medical experts for years have been citing health risks associated with the "Spring Forward", including Dr. Daliah Wachs and Dr. Paul Kalekas, and in a petition, they took the temperature of what society would want in terms of ending the time change, and close to 200,000 signed asking for an end to biannual time changes. They and other physicians are supporting the #SickofSpringForward and #FinishedWithFallBack campaign.[35][36]

Table of state-level legislative actions


StateLegislation for permanent standard timeLegislation for permanent DSTNoteReference
 AlabamaPending
(as of 2020; HB 215)
[5]
 AlaskaPending
(as of 2020; HB 292)
[5]
 ArizonaSuccess
(A.R.S. § 1-242, in effect since January 1, 1969)
Has observed permanent standard time since 1968; see also Time in Arizona[5][37]:629[38]
 ArkansasFailurePending
(as of 2021; HB 1017)
Passed a bill in 2019 urging the federal government to permit states to use permanent DST. [5][39]
 CaliforniaIn 2018 California Proposition 7 passed allowing the legislature to pursue permanent DST.[5][40]
 ColoradoFailureFailure[5][41]
 ConnecticutFailureDependent on neighboring states' participation[5]
 DelawareSuccess[5]
 FloridaSuccess[5]
 GeorgiaFailure
Success
(O.C.G.A. § 50-1-10)
Passed a bill in 2020 urging the federal government to permit states to use permanent DST.
Two simultaneous bills were introduced in 2021. One for permanent standard time, the other for permanent DST.
[5][42][43]
 HawaiiSuccess
(H.R.S. §1-31, in effect since March 30, 1967)
Has observed permanent standard time since 1967; see also Time in Hawaii[5][44]
 IdahoPartial successIf Washington implements permanent DST, the northern part of the state in Pacific Time will follow.[5]
 Illinois[5]
 Indiana[5]
 Iowa[5]
 Kansas[5]
 Kentucky[5]
 LouisianaSuccess[5]
 MaineSuccessDependent on neighboring states' participation[5]
 Maryland[5]
 Massachusetts[5]
 Michigan[5]
 Minnesota[5]
 Mississippi[5]
 MissouriDependent on a minimum number of states' participation[5]
 MontanaFailureFailureMultiple bills, at least one of which depends on voter approval[5]
 NebraskaDependent on a minimum number of states' participation[5]
 Nevada[5]
 New HampshireFailureDependent on neighboring states' participation[5]
 New Jersey[5]
 New MexicoFailure[5]
 New York[5]
 North CarolinaPending
(as of April 2021; SB 39 and HB 307)
[5]
 North DakotaFailure[5]
 Ohio[5]
 Oklahoma[5]
 OregonFailureSuccessDependent on neighboring states' participation[5]
 Pennsylvania[5]
 Rhode IslandFailureDependent on neighboring states' participation[5]
 South CarolinaSuccess[5]
 South Dakota[5]
 TennesseeSuccess[5]
 TexasFailureFailureMultiple bills, at least one of which depends on voter approval[5]
 UtahSuccessDependent on neighboring states' participation[5]
 Vermont[5]
 VirginiaFailureFailureDependent on a state review of impact[5]
 WashingtonSuccessDependent on a state review of impact[5]
 West Virginia[5]
 Wisconsin[5]
 WyomingSuccessDependent on neighboring states' participation[5]

See also


References


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  2. Downing, Michael (March 9, 2018). "100 years later, the madness of daylight saving time endures". The Conversation. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  3. "Turn back the clock on Daylight Savings: Why Standard Time all year round is the healthy choice". The Globe and Mail. November 2, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
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  11. Roenneberg, Till; Winnebeck, Eva C.; Klerman, Elizabeth B. (August 7, 2019). "Daylight Saving Time and Artificial Time Zones – A Battle Between Biological and Social Times". Frontiers in Physiology. 10: 944. doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.00944. PMC 6692659. PMID 31447685.
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  23. "S.623 - A bill to make daylight saving time permanent, and for other purposes".
  24. Rubio, Marco (March 6, 2019). "S.670 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Sunshine Protection Act of 2019". www.congress.gov. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
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  28. Goble, Keith (March 8, 2019). "Action pursued in 30 states to end time changes". Land Line. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
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  41. Burness, Alex (February 20, 2020). "Colorado movement to abolish daylight saving time remains hopeful despite loss". The Denver Post. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
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