Why Is California Still Changing Time?

On Saturday night, November 4, clocks in California and in most of the United States were moved back an hour.

One resident wrote, “Didn’t we in California vote not to turn clocks back?”

In 2018, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 7, which would have permanently adopted daylight savings time.

The way Proposition 7 was written, meant it also had to be passed by the state legislature (Assembly and Senate).  It did not, because it did not make the end of the session deadline.

Even if California legislature had passed it, the final approval would still have to come from the U.S. Congress.

But, Arizona and Hawaii do not observe daylight savings time and do not change clocks twice a year.

Federal law allows a state to exempt itself from DST.

If California voters had passed a bill in the state Legislature that says this state would go on standard time year-round, there would be no requirement for U.S. Congress to give approval.

In March of last year, the U.S. Senate passed the “Sunshine Protection Act,” which would have made daylight savings time permanent in the U.S.

The bill died in the House of Representatives because there was a disagreement over whether it should be permanently daylight-saving time or standard time.

The disagreements were based on geographical location, not party affiliation. Those in tourism areas generally favored DST, those in rural farming locations favored standard time.

Groups such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the National Sleep Foundation, and many other experts, preferred permanent standard time.

Last March, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio reintroduced the Sunshine Protection act to make DST permanent. The bill would require approval from the Senate and the House, and the president’s signature.

The bill was passed by the Senate, but the House never voted on it. The bill is at a standstill for the time being.

Daylight saving time was first observed by the United States in 1918 and has been implemented and repealed in the last 100 years.  It was created primarily to reduce energy consumption and promote commerce.

The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established the current system of biannual clock changes between standard time and daylight-saving time.

President Nixon signed a bill in 1974 to make daylight saving time permanent for two years as a way to address the nationwide gas shortage.

President Ford signed legislation only nine months later that reinstated the switching of the clocks. His move was based on public approval.

A Monmouth University poll of about 900 people conducted in March 2022, found 61 percent of those polled want to stop the twice-yearly change and 35 percent wanted to keep the status quo.

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