Daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, so let the clock-changing debate resume.
The November ritual of turning clocks back an hour may no longer be a chore as smartphones, computers and other electronic gadgets do it automatically. But the practice continues to arouse emotions.
Most of the United States has changed the clocks twice a year for over a century. In Oregon, that’s all we know.
DST – note that DST is singular – begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. Forward and reverse are colloquial terms used to remember which direction to set clocks.
We lose an hour in the spring and gain an hour in the fall, but it’s not that simple.
Tinker with time
The complicated history of daylight saving time in the United States began in 1918. It was introduced as a temporary measure during World War I to save energy and maximize daylight. Germany, the United Kingdom and France used it in their war efforts for two years before.
It was repealed after the war in the United States when it proved unpopular, but was reintroduced under the same guise during World War II.
From 1945 to 1966, there were no systematic rules for daylight saving time, and states could choose to observe it and when it would start and end.
Confusion between state boundaries led Congress to pass uniform time law, which divides the year into six months of standard time and six months of daylight saving time. This allowed states to opt out, which Arizona and Hawaii eventually did.
The United States tried permanent daylight saving time during the energy crisis of the 1970s, but it was considered a failed experiment.
The current daylight saving time period was established with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and came into effect in 2007.
The pros and cons
Many consider DST to be an outdated wartime practice with as many negative results as positive ones.
Moving the clocks forward one hour in the spring adds an hour of natural light. Proponents argue that longer evenings motivate people to get out of the house, be more active and give them more time to shop and dine out, which boosts the economy.
Critics say changing clocks is unhealthy, altering sleep patterns and disrupting the body’s natural rhythm. Studies have shown that the risk of heart attack increases after the change in spring and the risk of depression increases when the clocks are delayed in the fall.
The increase in car accidents and crime is also linked to the change in the time of day.
Americans are divided on the subject.
A survey released in March by Monmouth University in New Jersey found that 61% of Americans would remove the country’s twice-a-year daylight saving time change, while 35% wanted to keep the practice. Those who want a place all year round prefer summer time.
A CBS News poll released in April also found that making DST permanent was preferred over standard time by nearly all demographic and political groups. Only one in five Americans were content to keep changing clocks every year.
Where is Oregon?
Oregon took its first step toward eliminating daylight saving time in 2019 when lawmakers passed a measure that would keep most of the state — minus Malheur County, which is on mountain time. – permanently during summer time.
Governor Kate Brown has signed the legislation, but it has not yet taken effect. The bill was dependent on California and Washington doing the same, plus congressional approval.
California and Washington have done their part, joining Oregon as they await Congress.
While a state can disable daylight saving time and be on standard time year-round, federal law does not allow the reverse despite widespread interest.
Reports of the National Conference of State Legislatures that over the past seven years or so, state legislatures have considered 450 bills and resolutions on the subject. At least one-third of states approve DST year-round as soon as federal law allows it.
Waiting for the Feds
Many federal legislators agree that the “forward” and “backward” clock changes should be removed, but cannot agree on what the permanent time should be.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation to abolish clock changes and make daylight saving time permanent, starting in 2023. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, introduced sun protection lawand Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, was among the co-sponsors.
“Glad the Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act so Oregonians don’t walk back and forth every year in a mindless exercise that harms everyone’s health and our economy,” Wyden tweeted on the 15th. march. “Now is the time for the House to act.”
In June 2022, the United States House of Representatives failed to pass the bill, which has now stalled and is set to expire in December.
Let the debate resume in March 2023.
Capi Lynn is the Statesman Journal columnist. Send him comments, questions and advice at email@example.com or 503-399-6710. Follow his work on Twitter @CapiLynn and Facebook @CapiLynnSJ.