[tz] United States Senate reintroduced Sunshine Protection Act, enabling Permanent DST
brooks at edlmax.com
Sat Nov 5 18:53:44 UTC 2022
On 2022-11-04 5:38 PM, John Hawkinson via tz wrote:
> Today's Washington Post carries a story, various headlined "As the end
> of daylight saving time nears, a House bill to make it permanent has
> collapsed" and also "Clock runs out on efforts to make daylight saving
> time permanent," by Dan Diamond.
> I am surprised it merited a push notification, but it did.
> Anyhow, it looks like the prospects for this bill to change daylight
> savings in the US are quite bleak.
> Here is an allegedly paywalled-free link https://wapo.st/3TajkJo (via
> WaPo's "gift article" mechanism)
> Of course technically the bill could still pass during the lame-duck
> period after mid-term elections, but story handicaps that as extremely
> jhawk at alum.mit.edu <mailto:jhawk at alum.mit.edu>
> John Hawkinson
Another article in the New York Times:
Why Do We Change the Clocks, Anyway?
Why Do We Change the Clocks, Anyway?
The twice-yearly ritual has roots in cost-cutting strategies of the late
19th century. A bill to make daylight saving time permanent has stalled
By Alan Yuhas
Oct. 31, 2022
Hello. You may be here to learn when is daylight saving time, or what is
the time that we’re saving, or why does daylight saving time even exist.
Hopefully, this will answer those questions, and maybe a few more that
hadn’t crossed your mind, like what do the railroad companies of the
19th century have to do with it and whether golf course owners have an
interest in your sleep habits.
When is it?
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 2022, those dates are March 13 and Nov. 6. The clocks
spring forward again on March 12, 2023.)
In Britain, France and Germany, the clocks change on the last Sunday in
March, and the last Sunday in October. (In 2022, those dates are March
27 and Oct. 30. The clocks spring forward again in these countries on
March 26, 2023.)
American lawmakers in 1966, writing in the Uniform Time Act, decided
that the right time of day for this shift was “2 o’clock antemeridian,”
better known as 2 a.m.
What is it?
To farmers, daylight saving time is a disruptive schedule foisted on
them by the federal government; a popular myth even blamed them for its
existence. To some parents, it’s a nuisance that can throw bedtime into
chaos. To the people who run golf courses, gas stations and many retail
businesses, it’s great.
“When it’s dark or there are limited hours after work, people tend to go
straight home and stay there,” said Jeff Lenard, a spokesman for the
National Association of Convenience Stores, an industry group. “When
it’s lighter, they are more likely to go out and do something, whether
it’s in the neighborhood, a local park or some other experience. And
that behavior shift also drives sales, whether at a favorite restaurant
or the local convenience store.”
OK, if it wasn’t farmers, whose idea was this?
The idea is to move an hour of sunlight from the early morning to the
evening, so that people can make more use of daylight. Benjamin Franklin
is often credited as the first to suggest it in the 18th century, after
he realized he was wasting his Parisian mornings by staying in bed. He
proposed that the French fire cannons at sunrise to wake people up and
reduce candle consumption at night.
Over the next 100 years, the Industrial Revolution laid the groundwork
for his idea to enter government policy. For much of the 1800s, time was
set according to the sun and the people running the clocks in every town
and city, creating scores of conflicting, locally established “sun
times.” It could be noon in New York, 12:05 in Philadelphia and 12:15 in
This caused problems for railway companies trying to deliver passengers
and freight on time, as nobody agreed whose time it was. In the 1840s,
British railroads adopted standard times to reduce confusion. American
counterparts soon followed.
“There was the threat of federal intervention in all of this, so the
railroads decided they were going to police themselves,” said Carlene
Stephens, a curator at the National Museum of American History.
Scientists were also urging a standardized system for marking time, she
In North America, a coalition of businessmen and scientists decided on
time zones, and in 1883, U.S. and Canadian railroads adopted four
(Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific) to streamline service. The
shift was not universally well received. Evangelical Christians were
among the strongest opponents, arguing “time came from God and railroads
were not to mess with it,” Ms. Stephens said.
The introduction of time zones prompted fears of a kind of 19th-century
Y2K. “Jewelers were busy yesterday answering questions from the curious,
many of whom seemed to think that the change in time would generally
create a sensation, a stoppage of business, and some sort of a disaster,
the nature of which could not be exactly ascertained,” The New York
Times reported in November 1883.
Once the time zone business was settled, it wasn’t long until Franklin’s
idea for daylight saving was refashioned for the industrial world. In
the 1900s, an English builder, William Willet, urged British lawmakers
to shift the clocks to reap economic benefits. Parliament rejected the
proposal in 1909, only to embrace it a few years later under the
pressures of World War I. In 1916, Germany was the first European nation
to enact the policy in an effort to cut energy costs, and over the next
few years several Western nations followed suit. In the United States,
the federal government took oversight of time zones in 1918. And in
March of that year, the country lost its first hour of sleep.
One of the oldest arguments for daylight saving time is that it can save
energy costs. There have been many conflicting studies about whether
actually it does.
A Department of Energy report from 2008 found that the extended daylight
saving time signed by George W. Bush in 2005 saved about 0.5 percent in
total electricity use per day. Also that year, a study by the National
Bureau of Economic Research found that the shift in daylight saving
time, “contrary to the policy’s intent,” increased residential
electricity demand by about 1 percent, raising electricity bills in
Indiana by $9 million per year and increasing pollution emissions.
Energy savings was precisely the argument President Richard M. Nixon
used in 1974 when he signed into law the Emergency Daylight Saving Time
Energy Conservation Act amid a fuel crisis. But what started as a
two-year experiment didn’t even make it the year. On Sept. 30, 1974,
eight months after the experiment began, the Senate put the country back
on standard time after widespread discontent.
Daylight saving time still has fervent supporters, especially among
business advocates who argue it helps drive the economy.
Who wants to end it?
The European Union and several U.S. states, including California,
Florida and Ohio, are either considering dropping the shift or taking
steps to do so.
In March, the Senate suddenly and unanimously passed legislation to do
away with the twice-yearly time changes, making Daylight Saving Time
permanent. But the House has yet to find consensus, Representative Frank
Pallone Jr., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said
in a statement.
“There are a broad variety of opinions about whether to keep the status
quo, to move to a permanent time, and if so, what time that should be,”
he said. “These opinions don’t break down by party, but instead by
region. We don’t want to make a hasty change and then have it reversed
several years later after public opinion turns against it — which is
exactly what happened in the early 1970s.”
If the current iteration of the bill passes in the House and President
Biden signs it, the change would take effect in November 2023.
This fall, Mexico’s Senate followed suit, sending its president a bill
to end daylight saving time for most of the country, but carved out an
exception for the area along the United States border.
China, India and Russia do not use daylight saving time. Nor does Hawaii
or most of Arizona. (The Navajo Nation, in northeastern Arizona, New
Mexico and Utah, does observe.) Several U.S. territories, including
Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the United States Virgin Islands
also do not apply daylight saving time.
In 2020, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine called for the abolition
of daylight saving time. In a statement, the academy said the shift, by
disrupting the body’s natural clock, could cause an increased risk of
stroke and cardiovascular events, and could lead to more traffic accidents.
“Not only are we sleep deprived but we’re trying to force our brain into
a little bit more of an unnatural sleep schedule,” said Dr. Rachel
Ziegler, a physician in the sleep medicine department at Mayo Clinic
Health System. “If you ask any sleep specialist, I think most of us
would be in favor of a permanent schedule.”
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