The Push for Permanence and the States Leading the Charge

The Push for Permanence and the States Leading the Charge

Daylight Saving Time: The Push for Permanence and the States Leading the Charge

With the approach of the biannual clock change, Americans are once again pondering the merits of Daylight Saving Time (DST). This ritual of moving our clocks forward in the spring and back in the fall has been a subject of debate for years. Now, more than two dozen states are considering making DST permanent, a move that promises brighter afternoons but is contingent on congressional action that has yet to materialize.

The DST Dilemma

The debate over DST revolves around whether to make the switch to permanent DST, which would extend daylight into the evening hours, or to opt for year-round standard time. While the latter has already been adopted by two states, the consensus among state lawmakers is to end the practice of changing clocks altogether.

Legalities and Roadblocks

Under the Uniform Time Act, states have the option to observe year-round standard time, as Arizona and Hawaii have chosen to do. However, the act currently prohibits states from adopting permanent DST. Efforts to change this have been stymied, with a bipartisan bill that would enable states to make the switch languishing in committee.

States on the Move

Despite the legal hurdles, more than two dozen states have passed measures or have pending legislation that would transition to permanent DST if congressional action allows. These states include Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The Case for Standard Time

On the flip side, nearly a dozen states are considering a move to year-round standard time. These states include Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Oregon, where the Senate recently approved a bill to end DST.

Public Opinion and Legislative Action

Public opinion seems to favor a move away from the biannual clock changes. In California, voters approved a resolution in 2018 allowing the state legislature to enact permanent DST, but no action has been taken. Similarly, a bill in New York proposes the establishment of a DST task force to study the effects of year-round DST.

The Numbers Speak

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, state legislatures have considered over 500 bills and resolutions related to time changes between 2014 and 2023, indicating a growing interest in addressing the issue.

Critics and Concerns

Critics of DST point to studies showing that the time changes can have adverse effects on health and safety. The loss of sleep associated with the “spring forward” change has been linked to an increase in car accidents, missed medical appointments, workplace injuries, and even heart attacks and strokes. Long-term effects can include mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

Historical Context

DST was first introduced in 1918 as a way to save energy and extend shopping hours. Initially, the practice was left up to individual states, leading to a patchwork of time changes. Congress standardized DST in 1966 with the Uniform Time Act and extended it in 1996.

Efforts on Capitol Hill

Lawmakers at the federal level have made repeated attempts to eliminate the biannual time change, introducing legislation like the Sunshine Protection Act. This bipartisan effort seeks to establish permanent DST, but so far, it has not gained enough traction to become law.


The debate over DST is far from over, with states and lawmakers grappling with the decision to make the switch to permanent DST or year-round standard time. As Americans prepare to change their clocks once again, the push for brighter afternoons continues, but the path forward remains uncertain.

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