As of this morning there are now about 24 states that are considering some modification to Daylight Saving Time.
Given that two (Arizona and Hawaii) don't participate in the clock-changing madness twice a year, that means half the states that have legislation brewing to ditch it.
That's the good news, and it is indeed great news.
The bad news is that every single one of those bills is doomed. Every one.
I wish it wasn't the case, but it is. (Here's a post on the legislative tracking site, BillTrack50, about why.)
In short, no state can act on its own. The federal government controls the time, and the controlling law is that we have uniform time zones. If one state does its own thing, the time zones are no longer uniform.
What Can Be Done?
Luckily, there is something that legislators can do! It's actually easier than passing a bill, it's passing a resolution. We've got model resolution language right here. Or you can look at the version that passed in California.
While typically resolutions don't do much, this one will because it will give a chance for your state to join together with California and all the other states who will be passing this resolution.
Then, as the leader of this movement, I'll make sure that all those resolutions get delivered to Washington in a way that will make it hard for the people that matter in this to ignore.
So don't lose heart that a bill won't work, you've got another tool in the toolbox!
The rest of this post is an updated version of this post, updated with the latest research.
Many states have attempted to alter their own time zone, but the efforts typically get derailed when they learn of the control by the federal government.
Why is this effort different?
We are not asking for a law to be passed, simply a resolution. There are no binding commitments, no un-funded mandates, and no attempt to challenge the federal authority.
The resolution (full text here) simply states that it is the sentiment of that legislative body that all of the U.S. move to permanent Daylight Saving Time. Some states may want to remain in permanent standard time, and they can request that in the text of their own resolution.
Objection: "In our state the resolution is typically used just to honor citizens, etc."
Nearly every state is like that, but that's OK. This is an unusual problem, so it requires an unusual solution, and there are plenty of times resolutions have been used to send a message to a targeted audience. In this case the audience is the Federal Department of Transportation.
Will I face political trouble if I introduce/support this?
All of the polls (here's one) show at least a two-to-one preference for a stop to the clock changing.
When a lawmaker in Arizona proposed that his state — one of only two that were grandfathered into the 1966 law and don't have to change twice per year — begin changing with the rest of the country, he was so flooded with negative comments that he immediately and publicly withdrew his proposal.
Though not organized on this issue, traditional TV broadcasters have been against permanent DST because they want people to stop playing outside in the early evening and go home to watch television.
Is there any partisan angle?
The resolution that passed in California was sponsored by a Republican, but it passed both chambers controlled by the Democratic Party nearly unanimously.
If you are looking for a partisan angle, Republicans can say that they are trying to reduce government intrusion into private lives. Democrats can say that it will help the environment.
What is the science behind supporting this resolution?
- Heart attacks go up because of the clock change.
(New England Journal of Medicine, Sleep Medicine Journal)
- There's NO increased risk to children in rural areas.
(American Journal of Public Health)
- Traffic accidents spike on the Monday after "Spring Forward."
(American Economic Association, New England Journal of Medicine)
- Workplace injuries go up.
(Journal of Applied Psychology)
- Strokes go up.
- Staying in DST will improve traffic safety in the winter months, and there is no increased risk to students waiting for school buses.
(Journal of Safety Research)
- Permanent DST saves energy.
(U.S. Department of Energy)
- Permanent DST helps in the fight against childhood obesity.
(Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and Journal of Physical Activity and Health)
- Workplace productivity goes down because of the clock changes.
(Journal of Applied Psychology, story here)
- Permanent DST will help decrease air pollution.
(Journal of the Air & Waste Management Assn. and Steve Spangler Science)
- Clock-changing harms relationships.
(Wall St. Journal, citing several studies)
- Clock-changing brings harsher sentences from judges.
- Getting rid of clock changing will make the stock market perform better.
(Journal of Psychological Reports)
- Staying in DST all year can save wildlife.
(The Royal Society Biology Letters)
This resolution has zero fiscal implication, wide popular support and no complicated legal consequences.
With so little risk and so high of a possible reward, I recommend that you introduce or support this resolution as soon as possible.