President Trump has come out in support of a radical policy change that would likely find favor among millions of exhausted Americans: Making Daylight Saving Time permanent.
Support for ditching Daylight Saving Time (Saving not Savings) has been gaining popularity in recent years, as studies have shown that it's not helpful for farmers and doesn't conserve energy (which is why many Americans believe we use it), prompting many to wonder why we use it in the first place (the US adopted across the country after World War II). Studies have also shown that the shift leads to an increase in car accidents, heart attacks and strokes also climb, according to the Chicago Tribune.
But staying on DST would have the same result: avoiding the annoying time shifts. Wall Street traders would no doubt appreciate the extra hour of overlap with London markets that would accompany making DST permanent.
Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2019
Trump's tweet follows a story in the New York Times, published last week, that proposes making this time change our last. Lawmakers in California have proposed making Daylight Saving permanent.
Compelled by the augustly named federal Uniform Time Act of 1966, most Americans will leap ahead - or stumble blearily - from one configuration of the clock to another this weekend, as daylight saving time clicks in at 2 a.m. Sunday.
But many people are saying it’s time for time to be left alone. State legislatures from New England to the West Coast are considering proposals to end the leaping, clock-shifting confusion of hours lost or gained, and the conundrums it can create.
According to the NYT, due to a quirk in a 1966 law, states can vote to remain on standard time all year, but they would need approval from Congress to, as Trump advocated, make Daylight Saving Time permanent. This is why the states of Hawaii and Arizona were able to opt out of Daylight Saving.
The 1966 law allows states to opt out of daylight saving, and Hawaii and Arizona do so, staying on standard time all year; so does Puerto Rico. But for reasons that historians say remain murky, the law does not allow states to opt in all the way, and choose daylight time year-round. So the California proposal, and a similar bill passed by the Florida Legislature last year, would require an act of Congress to take effect.
Some state lawmakers have proposed clever workarounds, like shifting time zones, as New Hampshire is currently considering.
Josh Yokela, a Republican state legislator in New Hampshire, is working on a way around that problem. He is the lead sponsor of a bill, passed by the State House last month, to request that New Hampshire be shifted into the Atlantic time zone, which by fine coincidence would do exactly what daylight saving does now: put the state an hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Then the state would opt out of seasonal clock changes, as the 1966 law allows.
The key is that moving to a different time zone does not require an act of Congress — all it takes is an order from the Transportation Department, the federal agency that oversees time (a legacy of its duties regulating railroad schedules).
“We would be on the same time as the rest of the Eastern time zone for eight months of the year, because they accept daylight saving time — and when they fall back in the winter, we wouldn’t,” Mr. Yokela said.
Of course, it matters what your neighbors’ clocks say, and not just your own. Regional considerations played a role both in how daylight time first appeared a century ago, and in the debate over what to do about it now.
New Hampshire’s bill, for example, says that because the state is so closely tied economically with the other New England states, especially Maine and Massachusetts, it would only try the jump to Atlantic time if the others did as well.
As one fictional politician once said: Daylight Saving Time isn't saving us from anything.