As long time readers know, I grumble about that biannual ritual in the US of changing the clocks forward by one hour in the spring (when it becomes Daylight Savings Time) and then one hour back in the fall (when it reverts to Standard Time). We just made the change this past Sunday and I went around changing the eight clocks that are not connected to the internet. You would think that I would have been on top of this issue but I was taken completely by surprise to learn that the US Senate yesterday unanimously passed a resolution making DST permanent
That does not mean that the deed is done. The House of Representatives has not passed the measure and Joe Biden has not stated that he will sign the bill into law.
The House of Representatives, which has held a committee hearing on the matter, must still pass the bill before it can go to President Joe Biden to sign.
The White House has not said whether Biden supports it. A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to say if she supports the measure but said she was reviewing it closely.
The National Association of Convenience Stores opposes the change, telling Congress this month “we should not have kids going to school in the dark.”
Since 2015, about 30 states have introduced legislation to end the twice-yearly changing of clocks, with some states proposing to do it only if neighboring states do the same.
The House Energy and Commerce committee held a hearing on the issue last week, where Representative Frank Pallone, the committee’s chairman, said, “The loss of that one hour of sleep seems to impact us for days afterwards. It also can cause havoc on the sleeping patterns of our kids and our pets.”
Pallone backs ending the clock-switching but has not decided whether to support daylight or standard time as the permanent choice.
At the hearing, Beth Malow, director of the Vanderbilt Sleep Division, argued daylight savings time makes it harder to be alert in the morning, saying it “is like living in the wrong time zone for almost eight months out of the year.”
Pallone cited a 2019 poll that found 71% of Americans prefer to no longer switch their clocks twice a year.
Daylight saving time has been in place in nearly all of the United States since the 1960s after being first tried in 1918. Year-round daylight savings time was used during World War Two and adopted again in 1973 in a bid to reduce energy use because of an oil embargo and repealed a year later.
The bill would allow Arizona and Hawaii, which do not observe daylight saving time, to remain on standard time as well as American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
If we are to have just one time all year round, I would have preferred to keep Standard Time since that would mean earlier sunrises in winter mornings and children would not have to go to school in the dark.