It’s that time again — officially at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 7 — when most of the nation will set their clocks back an hour in the annual switch from daylight saving to standard time.
In March of this year, a bipartisan bill called the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 was submitted in the U.S. Senate. The bill would end the time change and make DST permanent across the United States, negating the need for most Americans to change their clocks twice a year.
The bill was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of eight senators, which at that moment gave us hope. But it has languished in a Congress incapable of reaching agreement on much of anything. Unfortunately, even though voters in several states — including California — have voted to stay on daylight saving time year-round, it truly takes an act of Congress to enact changes to the Uniform Time Act, which was established in 1966 for a synchronized DST schedule across the country.
In 2018, California voters approved Proposition 7 by a nearly 60-40 percent vote in favor of year-round daylight saving time. But the proposition requires a two-thirds vote of the state Senate which was never brought to a vote because the federal government failed to give the state approval for the time change.
It’s time to end the nonsense. The widely held belief that the switch is for the farmers is rubbish. They hate it, as do the vast majority of Americans. If Congress is looking for something both parties can agree upon and for something they can accomplish without the normal vitriol of proceedings, this is it.
Benefits abound, including reduced rates of winter depression and seasonal affective disorder by providing more sunshine later into the day, eliminating the spike in traffic accidents/fatalities that come with each time change, and general all-around wellness as there’s more afternoon/early evening daylight for sporting activities and personal exercise. It’s also likely businesses, restaurants, galleries, etc., will benefit if people have an additional hour of daylight at the end of their day vs. the beginning.
The only real argument against the switch, that it sends children to school in the dark during winter, is a safety issue worth considering. But if the concern is truly for the children, we point to the growing mountain of studies which say we wake our children far too early for school. Likewise, the touted energy savings is so small as to be negligible.
It’s long past time to enact universal daylight saving throughout the United States.
Congress should pass the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 soon, so that when we “spring forward” on March 13 next year, it will the last time we need to adjust our clocks.