No, it is not that time, yet. At least, we will not face the dreaded moment until Sunday, Nov. 3. So, why am I griping, already?
Every spring and every fall, I grumpily vent about our archaic habit of resetting our clocks twice a year.
We have monkeyed around moving from Standard Time to Daylight Saving Time and back to Standard Time — off and on — for over 100 years.
Now, there is a ray of home. Apparently, the U.S. Senate has a bill — S-670 — waiting to be reviewed by a Senate committee, and then presented to the full Senate for a vote.
Sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, the bill simply permits states to remain on Daylight Saving Time (DST), year round.
As it stands now, states cannot chose to stay on DST without a change in federal rules. (DST is known to our grandkids as summer-time hours — when it is light later.) Actually, in 2018, Greg Steube, a Republican who was in the Florida Senate, filed legislation to “stop the clock shift.” Steube, who is now in the U.S. House, led the move for his state. Thus, in 2018 Florida became the first state to approve year-round daylight time.
“Steube said he got the idea one fall after his barber mentioned her young children were having trouble adjusting to the hour-difference. On a whim, Steube decided to look into getting rid of the practice, and polling among constituents revealed an unexpectedly high level of support for sticking to one time all year, particularly daylight time. Steube said he was also bombarded with calls from executives in the tourist industry who felt an extra hour of daylight (in the evening) could help business.” — NBC News, Aug. 17.
My hat is off to Rep. Steube for listening — genuinely listening — to his barber and for realizing that, indeed, time shifts impact children, who must be up bright and early, for school or preschool. With 10 grandkids — all but one in school — I have seen first hand how discombobulated children can become due to time changes. Pets, too. Fido doesn’t understand why his/her feeding, walk and play times are not at the usual time. Sen. Rubio and co-sponsor, Rep. Vern Buchanan are making a joint effort to rid us of the time change issue. (Buchanan is a Republican representing Florida’s 16th Congressional District.) On their website, they stated that the Sunshine Protection Act of 2019 would eliminate changing clocks to standard time for the months of November through March.
According to Rubio, “In sum, if enacted, we would not ‘fall back’ in November and would enjoy a full year of DST, instead of only eight months.”
The website further noted,
“This bill does not: Alter or change time zones. Change the amount of hours of sunlight. Mandate those who do not currently observe DST to do so (American Samoa, most of Arizona, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands).”
Assuming that Sen. Rubio and Rep. Buchanan can get the “Sunshine Protection” bill through committees, to the Senate and House floors, we can hope that both bodies of Congress will pass the bill to eliminate the archaic rule. Another ray of hope is the fact that President Donald Trump tweeted on March 11, “Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!” Perhaps, we can assume that he would be happy to sign the bill, as well.
So, there is a glimmer of hope. Naturally, there is a worry. Bitter bipartisanship attitudes will likely interfere. Passing the “Sunshine Protection” bill should be easy, but emotions are high and hostilities are rampant. That is a shame. Back when DST was first put into effect, in 1918, at the end of World War I, it was an effort to save fuel, which was in short supply. The time change was so unpopular — folks rose and retired earlier in those days — that after seven months, Congress overrode President Woodrow Wilson’s veto of the bill that eliminated DST. Thus, DST was shelved.
Then, in World War II, “President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round Daylight Saving Time, called ‘War Time,’ from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945.” — Daylight Saving Time website.
Post WWII until 1966, there was no federal law regulating DST. States could do whatever they wished. Transportation systems including trains, buses and airline, plus broadcasting corporations struggled to make schedules that allowed for the various times. For more information about Daylight Saving Time, visit: http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/e.html
By 1966, Congress acted and established The Uniform Time Act of 1966. DST was set to begin on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday of October. Any state wishing to opt out of DST could do so by passing a state law. However, states were prohibited from staying on year-round saving time.
Then, in 2005, Congress expanded DST to begin on the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November.
Twice our nation stayed on DST. The first was in 1942-1945 and, then, 1974-1975.
Over the years, numerous studies have revealed the advantages of having more light in the evening and the disadvantages of shortening the amount of light at night.
Here are a few good reasons to switch to Daylight Saving Time, permanently:
1. The number of automobile collisions is lower and there are fewer car/pedestrian accidents.
2. The rate of heart attacks and strokes is reduced.
3. Folks who are subject to Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) suffer less during saving time hours. When we set our clocks back in the fall and darkness arrives earlier in the evening, folks who are prone to SAD do suffer. (Our one daughter is subject to SAD.)
4. Obviously, changing time, particularly in the fall, can play havoc with an individuals’ cicada rhythm — 24-hour internal clock. Some of us are keenly aware of that rhythm, others not as much. For me, I become more dysfunctional than I already am.
For a more extensive list of the advantages of DST, go to Sen. Rubio and Rep. Buchanan’s website. They have succinctly summarized the potential benefits of changing to Daylight Saving Time, permanently.
To find their website, search for “rubio sunshine protection act” and select “Senators Rubio, Scott, and Representative Buchanan introduce bill.”
Over the years I have lobbied to just eliminate time change. I have urged my representatives to either stick to standard time or go with DST, year round.
In retrospect, DST is the better choice.
Our overall attitudes would improve if we could get the “Protect Sunshine” bill passed and signed in time for the Nov. 3rd time change. However, that’s likely hoping for too much.
I’ll settle for the passage of the bill in time for us to remain on DST come the first Sunday in November, 2020.
Given that there is a bill ready to be reviewed, this might be the moment to urge our representatives to eliminate time change and to enact saving time, permanently.