Daylight time all year? Not this year
If you’re still adjusting to the time change that kicked in Sunday, you’re not alone. Americans have griped about it for years — while consoling themselves with the “extra hour of sleep” that comes with the fall-back return to Standard Time.
It does see like a disruption that doesn’t need to happen, and state legislatures far and wide have passed or are considering bills to do away with the practice. Most of those would make Daylight Saving Time permanent.
The Oregon Legislature enacted a measure this year, but made it contingent on Washington and California going along as well. Washington has done so, but California has not, so the status quo remains for now.
The federal government would have to approve of the change as well, although there is reportedly some support in Congress for a waiver.
Those who consider the time change regimen somewhat silly can appreciate the fact that Benjamin Franklin apparently came up with the idea as a joke.
While living in Paris, renowned for its nightlife, Franklin — party animal that he was — described in an essay how he arose one morning much earlier than usual, astonished to find sunlight streaming in his window. What a waste of daylight, he wrote, in a city whose residents routinely slept until noon.
The notion may have been laughed off then, but starting in World War I, the United States and other countries began changing the clocks to save energy by extending daylight an extra hour into the evening. The practice was repealed in 1919, with some states and cities observing it and others not until Franklin D. Roosevelt imposed Daylight Time year-round during World War II, after which it reverted to a local option again. Congress enacted it nationwide in 1966.
Daylight time was extended in 2007, starting the second Sunday of March instead of the first Sunday in April (the start date was the last Sunday in April from 1966 until 1986).
With daylight time now in effect nearly eight months of the year, it makes sense to leave it in place year-round. Yes, children would go to school in the dark — but they do that now, on the shortest days of the year.
Daylight time doesn’t really save much energy, and any it does save from less lighting is canceled out by more air-conditioning use in the summer.
The best part would be the end to resetting clocks twice a year and the resulting sleep disruption — not to mention the pets who refuse to adjust their dinner times to please silly humans.
In any case, year-round Daylight Time won’t happen until California gets its act in gear and Congress gives its OK. So don’t be surprised to find yourself springing forward again next March.