Since the kick-off of the 2016 legislative sessions we've seen way more states than in previous years that are either pleading exemption from daylight saving time, or standard time. Either way, they all just want to end the clock-changing.
We've seen proposals in states from California to Massachusetts. The one thing most of them have in common? They are doomed to fail. It's hard to fight the feds, and most of these bills do just that.
The problem is the Uniform Time Act of 1966 that divides the U.S. into time zones, and requires states to be as uniform as possible within those zones.
That's why we think it's a better idea for legislators to do something other than bang their state's head against the wall of the feds, and instead just pass a resolution showing how resolute you are about wanting to stop changing the clock-changing.
What's happened in past years is that a legislator introduces a bill to fix just that state, but then legislative staff says that the legality of the proposal is unclear, and that makes it difficult to win over the majority, so the bills fail.
This is why we recommend that DST activists write a resolution instead of a bill. This would make it so that all states have to do to be on board with this project is agree to a resolution, rather than drafting a bill that is likely going to fail the way that so many others in the past have failed. Resolutions are way easier to pass.
There has been lots of action, and so let's summarize it here:
The state of California has two proposals in front of the legislature right now. One, a regular bill, we wrote about at length here.
The draft of the resolution begins by explaining that the state plans to attain 50 percent of its energy use from renewable resources by 2030. In the current form of the draft, it explains that a 2001 report released by the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission stated that California ratepayers would save $300 million to more than $1 billion with the implementation of permanent daylight saving time. Additionally, a Rutgers University study said that the U.S. would save 0.5 percent of its energy for every day that extended daylight saving time was in place.
If this passes, it will be a huge step forward for the idea behind this site and this movement.
Kansas’s approach is much more simple. This bill asks that the state be left out of daylight saving time starting the first Sunday of November. While California is focused on energy, economics, and fatalities within the state, Kansas seems to be more concerned with changing their clocks. The state site doesn't show who the sponsor is, but it does have a hearing this morning. We'll keep an eye on this one.
Missouri’s bill also looks to stay on DST year-round. This bill, from Rep. Mike Kelley, takes a nod from previous efforts in that state — ideas that we agree with — that it should only change if other nearby states also make the same change. This is something that Rep. Delus Johnson has championed in the past. Two states is great, but again that Uniform Time Act is still there, so don't stop at two states, get all 50 states on board. But if this passes, it will be a step in the right direction.
Wyoming also hopes to stay on standard time but does not expect the implementation of this plan until the start of 2017. This poses problems because the only way this problem can be solved is if all states agree. Legislators in individual states may think that they can just pass a law and change their own time zone, but that's not at all clear.
Florida has a great bills proposing that the sunshine state begins running off of permanent daylight saving time beginning July 1 of this year. It's a short bill, but it has the right spirit, and got lots of press. We wish all the best to Rep. Kristin Jacobs in Florida, and we stand ready to help her however we can, even though she's probably going to run into the same federal problem. Maybe a resolution, Rep. Jacobs?
Mississippi has an excellent resolution that models our resolution very nicely, even including the provision to make a copy of the passed resolution for each of the other states in the U.S. Go, Mississippi, go!
And in Oklahoma, the bill would keep the state OK in DST year-round. It got some good coverage, then passed a committee vote. When they find out about how they just can't do what they want to do, we hope they will not lose heart, but will instead think about adopting a resolution.
Minnesota’s bill asks that beginning in 2017, it would not observe daylight saving time and stay in year-round standard time. Some legislators think this is allowed within the Federal law. We don't think so, but this could be a good test case of states rights vs. federal control. Either way, we wish lots of luck to Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer.
Similarly, the state of Utah has a bill that requests exemption from daylight saving time. It asks to be put on Mountain Standard Time and keep their clocks the same way all year. Scott had a twitter exchange with the sponsor, Fred Cox, in which he accused Scott of being deceitful. He wasn't, he was just trying to warn Utah about what had happened in other states. Anyway, we hope this passes, too, but don't hold a lot of hope, even if it does pass.
It's very nice to see some states finally taking action and trying to get rid of the pointless time change we all go through twice a year, but some of the bills need could be helped by learning the lessons from other states.
If these states can agree that switching our clocks does not help our society, then they should be able to agree that daylight saving time is a better option than standard time. As laid out in California’s bill, this idea would save energy, money, and lives.
Just because we use the word ‘standard time’ does not mean that it should be accepted as the norm.
Our view is that the only way this will work is if all states can agree, and the best way to do that is with a resolution that is passed in statehouses around the country. We are ready to help any legislator who wants some help in doing so, either with research or whatever else might help.