WASHINGTON, DC – It’s that time again. This Sunday, we’ll all go through the biannual exercise of changing our clocks due to the switch between Standard and Daylight Saving Time (DST).
DST has an interesting history. First implemented in the United States in 1918, it was repealed just one year later after Congress voted to override then-President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. The repeal led to decades of a patchwork of observances across the country. It wasn’t until the enactment of the Uniform Time Act in 1966 that the standardization of DST as we generally understand it today was put in place. And even then, there have been adjustments to the beginning and ending dates of DST over the past 52 years.
As we “fall behind” again this year, many Americans are wondering why we have a time change and whether it makes sense to continue to observe it. And state governments are taking notice. Earlier this year, the state of Florida enacted the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make Daylight Saving Time permanent in Florida if federal law were amended to allow it. And in California, voters in next week’s elections will have the opportunity decide whether to repeal DST in their state. If the ballot measure is approved, California’s legislature could then move legislation to adopt permanent standard time – similar to Arizona and Hawaii who already do not observe DST.
The questions many Americans and state legislatures are asking about DST are good ones, and it’s why the Energy and Commerce Committee has been investigating the issue by working with the Department of Transportation (DOT) – the department charged with enforcing DST – to examine the costs and benefits associated with time change.
DOT is continuing to research the committee’s questions and has promised to share the results of their review. It is from this and other research we could begin to explore legislative solutions to the question of whether the current observance of DST continues to be the right policy. But until then, don’t forget to change your clock!