(KMID/KPEJ)- It’s that time of year again when clocks will “fall back” one hour for the majority of those living in the United States, which will once again observe Standard Time, as opposed to Daylight Saving Time. This year, clocks will roll back by an hour on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023. The official time for the change is 2 a.m.
Daylight Saving Time begins on the first Sunday in March, when clocks “spring forward” by one hour and, although it allows for more daylight hours during the summer, is controversial among many healthcare professionals. According to studies from the American Heart Association, there was a 24% increase in daily heart attack counts on the Monday following the spring time change followed by a 21% reduction on the Tuesday following the fall time change. Strokes were also found to be 8% higher during the first two days following a daylight-saving time transition.
In 1918, DST was implemented as a wartime measure but was repealed one year later. In 1942, it was reinstated during World War II and was made the norm in 1966 with the passing of the Uniform Time Act. The UTA standardized DST to avoid the “chaos” of state-to-state changes.
Many Americans have said they don’t like switching their clocks twice a year, but when surveyed, most could not agree on which time they preferred, DST or standard time. A poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found only 25% of those questioned said they preferred to switch back and forth between Standard and daylight saving time. 43% percent said they would like to see standard time used during the entire year while 32% said they would prefer that daylight saving time be used all year.
For those preferring DST, it’s important to note that the U.S. tried to that once, and it failed.
In the 1970s, when the U.S. was facing an energy crisis, President Richard Nixon signed a law to allow for permanent daylight saving time for two years in an effort to try and save energy. But citizens did not take well to the change and the early morning darkness caused some accidents for children going to school. The Watergate scandal moved Nixon out of office a few months later and seven days later Congress nixed Nixon’s experiment.
Ever since, there have been numerous attempts to make a change to DST. In 2023 alone, 29 states, including Texas, introduced legislation to end the practice of changing the clocks, with many states seeking to observe DST year-round; every bill introduced by lawmakers in Texas either stalled or failed. Regardless of whether the bills failed or passed, or whether legislators want permanent daylight saving time or standard time, there isn’t much hope for states locking the clocks without Congress taking action because current federal law prevents states from observing year-round DST.
That said, there have been multiple bills introduced in Congress this year that would stop the changing of the clocks.
In March, Senator Marco Rubio, of Florida, brought forth the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023, which would make daylight saving time permanent, effective in November. The bill received bipartisan support in the Senate before being referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, where it has remained there ever since.
Representative Mike Rogers, of Alabama, introduced a bill to allow states to observe daylight saving time year-round. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-SC, brought forth a similar bill that also called for a study on implementing daylight saving time year-round. Both were referred to the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce in March and remain there.
Ultimately, without Congressional action, the twice-a-year tradition of changing the clocks will remain.