(NEXSTAR) — In just a few short weeks, daylight saving time will end and Americans in all but two states will be turning back the clocks.
Not a fan of daylight saving time, even though we’ll gain an hour of sleep? Many lawmakers throughout the country aren’t either.
Over the last seven years, hundreds of bills and resolutions seeking to put an end to daylight saving time have been introduced throughout the U.S. Many haven’t passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Two states — Hawaii and most of Arizona — already observe permanent standard time (the time between November and March), meaning they don’t change their clocks at all.
While the rest of the U.S. switches to daylight saving time, Arizona and Hawaii actually change time zones. With clocks now set to shift to standard time, Arizona shifts from the Pacific Time Zone to the Mountain Time Zone, while Hawaii transitions to five hours behind Eastern Time from six hours behind.
Under current federal law, the U.S. as a whole can only abandon the twice-yearly changing of the clocks if Congress enacts a federal law, or a state or local government submits detailed information to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation “supporting its contention the requested change would serve the convenience of commerce.”
What states are trying to end daylight saving time?
Eighteen states have enacted legislation or resolutions to stay on daylight saving time permanently, pending approval by Congress or other neighboring states enacting similar legislation.
These states include Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. California voters authorized a change but legislative action has yet to happen. Massachusetts has commissioned studies on the matter, according to NCSL.
Kentucky and Mississippi have approved legislation, both calling for Congress and the president to make daylight saving time permanent.
Over 20 states have pending legislation on daylight saving time this year, NCSL reports. While most of these states want to permanently observe daylight saving, others want to remain on standard time, like Colorado, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.
Legislation in Iowa, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia failed to pass this year. A state-by-state breakdown of the proposed legislation can be found here.
Is Congress doing anything?
Congress passed the first daylight saving legislation more than 100 years ago when then-President Woodrow Wilson signed the Calder Act. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, Americans were required to set their clocks to standard time on March 19, 1918, and then set their clocks one hour ahead on March 31.
Two years later, dozens of cities adopted their own daylight-saving policies. By the mid-1960s, 18 states observed daylight saving while 12 stuck to standard time. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, setting into action the current daylight saving time schedule 48 states observe, the Smithsonian reports.
Earlier this year, the Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). The bill would make daylight saving time our normal time, effective in early November 2023. It was sent to the House of Representatives in March, but no action has been taken on it since.
Two other bills, the DAYLIGHT Act and another that would allow states to elect to observe year-round daylight saving time were introduced in the House in November 2021 but never left the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce.
The U.S. has tried permanent daylight saving time before and it didn’t go well.
Then-President Richard Nixon signed an emergency daylight saving bill into law in late 1973 amid a national energy crisis in an effort to cut demand while extending daylight hours. Soon after, parents expressed concerns about traffic accidents and the safety of their children, who were now forced to go to school under winter darkness.
The vast majority of Americans approved the bill’s passage, but two months later, the approval rating dropped from 80% to 42%. Months later, in the fall of 1974, President Gerald Ford signed a bill to return the U.S. to the clock-changing process we know today.
There are a few industries that seem to benefit from daylight saving time. Among those is the Chamber of Commerce, Michael Downing, a professor at Tufts University explained in 2015. He said the Chamber “understood something very early on: If you give workers daylight, when they leave their jobs, they are much more apt to stop and shop on their way home.”
The Department of Transportation now credits daylight saving time with conserving energy, preventing crashes, and reducing crime.