The clocks "fall back" on Sunday for the change of daylight saving time

The clocks “fall back” on Sunday for the change of daylight saving time

Illustration of a clock striking almost midnight with a target on its face.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Sunday is the half-yearly change of clocks, but it could be the last time we “fall back” if legislation is approved to make daylight saving time permanent.

The big picture: The US Senate unanimously approved the Sunshine Protection Act in March, a measure that could make daylight saving time permanent in 2023, but the bill failed to pass the House.

Why is this important: Health groups have called for an end to seasonal clock shifting, a ritual first adopted in the United States more than a century ago, report Sophia Cai and Andrew Solender of Axios.

The context: A new study published in the journal Current Biology predicts that year-round daylight saving time could prevent 36,550 deer deaths, 33 human fatalities, 2,054 human injuries and $1.19 billion in collision costs per year .

What time to change the clock

Details: Sunday morning at 2 a.m. is considered the official time to set clocks back to standard time, but many will change the time on their devices before they go to bed on Saturday.

  • Daylight saving time is expected to return on Sunday March 12 even if the legislation is approved.

Meanwhile, daylight saving time extended from April to October, but the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended daylight saving time by approximately four weeks from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

The push to make daylight saving time permanent

The sun protection law — a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — passed unanimously in mid-March.

  • If the legislation is approved by the House and signed into law by President Biden, it will mean that Americans will no longer have to change their clocks twice a year.

Rollback: In the 1970s – the last time Congress made DST permanent – the decision was reversed in less than a year after early morning darkness proved unsafe for school children and public opinion has changed.

States with DST resolutions

By the numbers: 19 states have already enacted laws or passed resolutions for year-round daylight saving time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

  • Florida was the first to pass legislation in 2018, and Colorado decided to make DST permanent earlier this year.
  • Other states that have taken action include: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Carolina South, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
  • California voters approved the Proposition 7 ballot initiative in 2018, but no legislative action was taken.

Yes, but: Federal Law says states can unilaterally switch to standard time, but must get congressional approval to adopt daylight saving time year-round, reports Christine Clarridge for Axios Seattle.

What we are looking at: Minnesota State Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) told Axios that he plans to relaunch state legislation in the next session to convert it to standard time, possibly be as early as 2024.

What that would mean: If approved in Minnesota, winter would be the same, but the sun would rise — and set — an hour earlier in summer, Axios’ Torey Van Oot reports.

  • “Personally, I just want to get rid of the clock changes,” Freiberg said of his multi-year assignment. “I don’t care where we go.”
States with permanent standard time and not daylight saving time

Hawaii and Arizona do not observe daylight saving time except for the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona.

  • US territories including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands observe Permanent Standard Time.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with additional context on the Minnesota State Rep. Mike Freiberg plans to ask the state legislature to consider moving to a standard time change.

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