Updated Nov 5, 2022 - Economy & Business

Clocks "fall back" Sunday: Blame Congress if you're sick of it

Illustration of a clock almost striking midnight with a target on its face.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Sunday is the bi-annual changing of the clocks, but it could be the last time we “fall back” if legislation is approved to make daylight saving time permanent.

The big picture: The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Sunshine Protection Act in March, a move that could make daylight saving time permanent in 2023, but the bill hasn’t been voted on by the House.

Why it matters: Health groups have called for an end to the seasonal shifting of clocks, a ritual first adopted in the U.S. more than a century ago, Axios’ Sophia Cai and Andrew Solender report.

Context: A new study in the journal Current Biology predicts that year-round daylight saving time could prevent 36,550 deer deaths, 33 human deaths, 2,054 human injuries and $1.19 billion in collision costs annually.

What time to change the clock

Details: Sunday morning at 2 am is considered the official time to set clocks to standard time but many will change the time on their devices before going to bed Saturday.

  • Daylight saving time is scheduled to return Sunday, March 12 even if legislation is approved.

Meanwhile, daylight saving time used to run from April to October but the Energy Policy Act of 2005 extended DST by approximately four weeks from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

The push to make daylight saving permanent

The Sunshine Protection Act — a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — was passed by unanimous consent in mid-March.

  • If the legislation clears the House and is signed into law by President Biden, it will mean Americans will no longer have to change their clocks twice a year.

Flashback: In the 1970s — the last time Congress made daylight saving time permanent — the decision was reversed in less than a year after the early morning darkness proved dangerous for school children and public sentiment changed.

States with daylight saving resolutions

By the numbers: 19 states have already enacted legislation or passed resolutions for year-round daylight saving time, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

  • Florida was the first to pass legislation in 2018 and Colorado moved forward with making daylight saving permanent earlier this year.
  • Other states that have taken action are: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
  • California voters approved the Proposition 7 ballot initiative in 2018 but legislative action hasn't been acted on.

Yes, but: Federal law says states can unilaterally move to standard time, but must have the approval of Congress to adopt year-round daylight saving time, Christine Clarridge reports for Axios Seattle.

What we're watching: Minnesota State Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley) told Axios he plans to revive the state’s legislation next session to convert to standard time, perhaps as soon as 2024.

What it would mean: If approved in Minnesota, winter would feel the same, but the sun would rise — and set — an hour earlier in the summer, Axios’ Torey Van Oot reports.

  • "Personally, I just want to get rid of the clock changes," Freiberg said of his multi-year mission. "I don't really care which we go to.”
States with permanent standard time not daylight saving

Hawaii and Arizona do not observe daylight saving time with the exception of the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona.

  • U.S. territories including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands observe permanent standard time.

Editor’s note: This story was updated with additional context on Minnesota State Rep. Mike Freiberg plans to ask the state legislature to look at converting to a standard time change.

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