Daylight saving time: Congress tries again to make it year-round

Published 12:00 pm Friday, March 10, 2023

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This is a reminder: Before you go to bed tonight set your clocks ahead one hour as daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday.
Unlike other, easier-to-remember federal events, like the Fourth of July, in the United States the clock change is tied to a roving day: Since 2007, it has taken place on the second Sunday of March, when clocks spring forward an hour, and the first Sunday of November, when they go back. (In 2023, those dates are March 12 and Nov. 5. The clocks spring forward again on March 10, 2024.)
Daylight saving time was designed so that darkness would come at a later time in the day during the warmer months, when days are longer. The idea originated in 1895, and in 1966 the United States passed the Uniform Time Act to establish a yearly time change. In the vast majority of the United States, clocks move forward an hour in March – this means that 10 a.m. in standard time, which is what we experience in the winter, becomes 11 a.m. in daylight saving time. In November, the clocks move back an hour, and 11 a.m. becomes 10 a.m. again.
The idea is there, but the logistics are confusing. Not every state observes a yearly time change. Arizona does not change their clocks, instead sticking to Mountain Standard Time year-round. Hawaii also does not observe the change.
Last spring Congress came close to making daylight saving dime permanent. The bill would have put an end to the changing of our clocks every year in November. The bill passed in the Senate, but failed to make it out of the House. The bill has been reintroduced in the Senate in recent days by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. If Congress passes the bill and if President Biden signs it, the new law would take about a year to implement.
Daylight saving time still has fervent supporters, especially among business advocates who argue it helps drive the economy.
But there’s increasingly been a push to leave the clocks alone. Stop the twice-yearly adjustments that seem to please almost no one. Does no one remember we tried this back in the 1970s and quickly abandoned permanent daylight saving time, largely because of safety concerns that came from sending kids off to school in the dark for months on end?
We all enjoy the sun. But in winter, when sunshine is scarce, we don’t have the luxury of tinkering with time. Evening sun is for our entertainment. Morning sun is for our health.
Those who tend to rise early each day have surely had their spirits buoyed of late, with hints of sunrise earlier and earlier each morning.
For most of us, we have lived with daylight saving time for as long as anyone can remember. Move the clocks ahead by an hour each year in the spring, then set them back come fall.
So, until Congress makes the change, we will spring forward in March, then fall back in November. And do it again and again, and if we depend on Congress to change it, maybe forever and ever.

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