Prepare to lose an hour of sleep this weekend, but no worries; you will gain it back in November. Daylight Saving Time (DST) will begin at 2a.m. Sunday, March 14 and end at 2a.m. Sunday, November 7.
DST was first established during World War I as a way to conserve fuel for war industries. The law was repealed soon after WWI ended, only to be re-established by Congress during World War II for energy consumption.
DST became U.S. law in 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act, establishing uniform start and end times within standard time zones.
DST was kept after World War II because Americans were believed to use less energy by extending summer daylight into the evening. However, a 2008 Department of Energy study found that DST reduces annual energy use by just 0.03 percent. The policy, regulated by the Department of Transportation, aims to save energy, reduce traffic fatalities and reduce crime.
Several changes occurred along the way, mostly changing the dates of starting and ceasing DST.
Not all states observe DST. Arizona and Hawaii do not participate. The territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not observe DST. Federal law allows a state to exempt itself from observing daylight saving time, upon action by the state legislature to do so but does not allow the permanent observance of DST.
In the last four years, 15 states have enacted legislation or passed a resolution to provide for year-round daylight saving time, if Congress were to allow such a change, and in some cases, if surrounding states enact the same legislation. Full-time DST is not currently allowed by federal law and would require an act of Congress to make a change. The 15 states are:
In 2020: Georgia (resolution), Idaho, Louisiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming.
In 2019: Arkansas, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington.
In 2018: Florida
Multiple bills have been introduced in the New York state legislature to end the changing of clocks there.
“It’s time to turn the page on changing our clocks twice a year and, given the similar interests of New York and contiguous states, it makes sense to do so regionally,” NY Sen. Joseph Griffo (R-47) said. “I am looking forward to working with my legislative colleagues in other states to make permanent daylight saving time a reality in the Northeastern United States.”
Some lawmakers have also proposed making DST permanent nationwide. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) reintroduced legislation in 2019. At one point, former President Donald Trump showed his support of the plan.
A primary complaint of those seeking a change from the current situation is the act of time switching itself. There are mixed opinions on the benefits of daylight time versus standard time, but the actual March and November time changes are almost universally reviled because of all the accompanying adjustments being made, like coming home from work in the dark and the slower-than-expected resetting of our internal time clocks. The state legislatures that have been active in bill introductions over the last several years place the state on both sides of the issue, either staying on standard time permanently or making permanent day saving time.