Two Florida Republicans introduced the Sunshine Protection Act of 2023 in March to make daylight saving time permanent after the proposal faltered in the last Congress, but so far the bill hasn’t made any significant inroads, all but guaranteeing that most Americans will have another year of changing their clocks.
Before this latest attempt to alter the biannual ritual started on Capitol Hill, “falling back” and “springing forward” caused considerable consternation amongst Americans. Parents who want their children to head to schoolcan appreciate “falling back” to standard time, but those who want the sun to shine long enough to play in the park after classes may want to keep daylight saving time year-round. Permanently keeping one over the other means people won’t have their sleeping schedules .
In 2022, afound 46% of Americans supported having daylight saving time year-round while 33% wanted to make standard time permanent. Just over a fifth of Americans, 21%, preferred keeping things the way they are.
Nineteen states have already passed legislation to stay on daylight saving time permanently if Congress would let them.
In Europe, the countries that observe “summer time” change their clocks on the last Sunday of October. Most countries around the world don’t participate in the twice-yearly time change, according to the Pew Research Center.
Before the clocks “fall back” in the U.S., here’s what Americans need to know:
Will we “fall back” in 2023?
Yes. Americans in most states will have to turn their clocks back an hour on Sunday, Nov. 5, when standard time resumes. It will last until the second Sunday of March 2024, when daylight saving time starts again.
While daylight saving timefrom the morning to the evening in late winter, spring, summer and early fall, that hour of daylight goes back to the morning during standard time, when the days are shorter in fall and winter.
Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida who introduced the Sunshine Protection Act in the Senate and a last year, has emphasized that less daylight in the evening can mean fewer after-school activities for kids.
“One of the big problems we have in a lot of parts of this country is kids can’t do anything after school because if you don’t have a park with lights, then, you know, you’re out of business by 4, 4:30, 5 o’clock,” he said on “CBS Mornings” in March. “It’s a huge problem, it’s a huge issue in many parts of the country.”
When will the time change?
In each of the nation’s time zones where daylight saving time is observed, the time changes at 2 a.m. local time with most Americans turning their clocks forward an hour on the second Sunday of March and back an hour on the first Sunday of November.
Why do we have daylight saving time in the first place?
During World War I, Germany started observing daylight saving time in 1916 to try to conserve fuel with the extra hour of daylight in the evening, according to the Congressional Research Service. Other European nations followed suit as the war dragged on, and the U.S. started using daylight saving time in 1918.
Congress repealed daylight saving time over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto in 1919 but gave states the option to continue observing it. It was brought back during World War II — with the country observing it year-round — and then again in 1966 with a twice-yearly changing of the clocks similar to what happens today.
Congress tried keeping the country on daylight saving time year-round again in 1974 in response to the 1973 oil embargo, but brought back the biannual switch to standard time before the year was over. In 2022, Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey who was then chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said public opinion in the ’70s had turned against the idea.
The most recent change to daylight saving time took effect in 2007, when the start and end dates were changed to make it longer.
What states have gotten rid of daylight saving time?
Hawaii and most of Arizona don’t observe daylight saving time. In the northeastern corner of Arizona, the Navajo Nation does observe daylight saving time, keeping the time the same year-round in the country’s largest Native American reservation, which extends into New Mexico and Utah.
The U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific also don’t observe daylight saving time, along with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
According to the U.S. Transportation Department, which oversees the observance of daylight saving time for the country, states can pass legislation to opt out of it. However, states don’t have the authority to be on daylight saving time year-round.
Which ones are trying to get rid of daylight saving time?
Several other states have considered adopting standard time year-round, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation moving through state capitols across the country.
In five states this year — Arkansas, Connecticut, Montana, New Mexico and Wyoming — measures to eliminate daylight saving time have failed, according to the group.
Similar proposals are being considered in 10 states: Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont. In Oklahoma, lawmakers are weighing letting voters decide whether the state should adopt year-round standard time in a referendum.
In Idaho, a proposal was rejected to keep the southern part of the state, which is in the Mountain time zone, on standard time while residents in the northern part of the state, in the Pacific time zone, would continue changing their clocks twice a year.
Will daylight saving time go away permanently across the U.S. anytime soon?
It’s not likely. Rubio’s 2022 proposal would have delayed making daylight saving time permanent until this November to let airlines and other industries that make plans far in advance adjust to the change. Any new legislation without a similar delay would risk disrupting those businesses.
As for Rubio’s current proposal to make daylight saving time permanent, the senator said in March he wasn’t going to give up.
“This is Washington, someone always has a reason to be against something, you know?” Rubio said. “The answer is we’ll see. I mean, it doesn’t look right now like we have the votes to pass it, but we’ll keep trying.”