(NEXSTAR) — The days are finally getting longer across the U.S., with many seeing sunsets after 5 p.m. for the first time since fall. That’ll only improve when, in just over a month, daylight saving time begins.
Most of us have been participating in the twice-a-year changing of the clocks for our entire lives.
As its name implies, daylight saving time (not daylight savings) is intended to give us more time in the sunshine during the warmest time of the year. So if the sun sets at 6:30 p.m. where you live, it’ll set at 7:30 p.m. when daylight saving time begins on March 10, 2024.
In addition to the extra evening sun, proponents also point to the upside of daylight saving time — more daylight in the evenings — as a potential means of reducing crime, energy use, and health risks associated with the time change.
The U.S. had a back-and-forth relationship with daylight saving time throughout the 1900s. President Woodrow Wilson introduced the twice-a-year time change during World War I, which Congress later overturned after the war. President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted year-round daylight saving time in World War II, only to see it repealed when several states and cities went back to standard time.
Then, after the creation of the Department of Transportation, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was instituted. The act not only brought time zones to the U.S. but the return of “a permanent system of uniform” daylight saving time.
Under the Uniform Time Act, states “cannot independently change time zones or the length of DST,” the Transportation Department explains. They can, however, “exempt themselves from DST, independent of DOT authority or permission,” meaning they can observe standard time year-round. Hawaii and most of Arizona, as well as all U.S. territories, have made that change.
This is where the distaste for daylight saving comes into play.
More than two dozen states at least considered withdrawing from the biannual clock change. Unfortunately, they’re largely hoping for permanent daylight saving time, not permanent standard time.
For a state to observe daylight saving time all year, Congress ultimately needs to take action. There have been multiple bills introduced to make that change.
That includes the 2023 version of Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) Sunshine Protection Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) to give states the power to stay on daylight saving time year-round, and a similar bill brought forth by Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.). All three were referred to committees, where they have remained since March.
In a statement to Nexstar in September, Rubio said his bill has “bipartisan support, and I’m hopeful that we can finally get this done.” An aide for Norman told Nexstar they have not heard from the committee in which his bill sits, echoing his response last year in which he said it was “frustrating that the committee won’t bring it for a hearing or markup.”
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, daylight savings affects everyone,” Norman said at the time.
Even if we can agree to stop changing the clocks, there is some disagreement about which setting is better.
When the U.S. went on permanent daylight saving time in the 1970s in response to a national emergency crisis, it was initially well-received. But, just a few months after it was enacted, public opinion began changing. Among the most concerned were parents, who were sending their children off to school under a veil of winter darkness. Less than a year after permanent daylight saving time began, it was altered when President Gerald Ford signed a bill to put the U.S. back on standard time for four months of the year.
Health experts have agreed that “stopping the clocks” could be better for your health — acute increases in heart attacks and strokes after we change the clocks have been reported, according to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. But most agree permanent standard time is better.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has previously said that “current evidence best supports the adoption of year-round standard time, which aligns best with human circadian biology and provides distinct benefits for public health and safety.”
Jeremy Tanner contributed to this report.
Go to Source
Author: Addy Bink