People across the country woke up Sunday morning and set their clocks forward an hour for the start of daylight saving time.
If you’re a Californian, you may be asking yourself, “Wait, why are we still doing that?” You might remember voting on Proposition 7 back in 2018, which proposed to ditch the switch altogether in California.
While 60% of voters backed that measure, it was just the first step needed to make the change. It would’ve needed to pass the state Legislature and then be authorized by Congress, as the federal Uniform Time Act doesn’t allow for year-round DST.
Last fall, state senators let time run out on passing legislation that would move to year-round DST, but the issue isn’t dead yet.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who co-authored the original bill and helped to get the issue on the ballot, told CapRadio's Insight following that first bill, lawmakers learned that maintaining standard time would actually be a better path.
“We heard from a lot of scientists and a lot of people involved in medicine that said, actually, if we're going to do this, it is good to to stop time change, but it's better to stick with Standard Time year-round,” she said. “That would be a lot easier for the state as well, because we could do it. We don't need the authority of Congress in order to do that.”
(Want a primer on the difference between daylight saving and standard time? Here’s a good one from National Geographic).
Gonzalez is confident a bill like this could still pass the Legislature. Support for the concept is strong, she said, but the trick this time around is getting consensus on which side of the clock to make permanent.
“Overwhelmingly, you have people saying they don't want time change,” she said. “But because there's two options, it's really hard to get a two-thirds vote for one of the options. And we were really straightforward when we ran the initiative that we weren't putting our thumb on the scale of either daylight savings time or standard time, but everybody heard what they wanted to hear.
"So people who liked daylight savings time thought, ‘Yes, daylight savings time year-round,’ and people who just didn't like time change thought standard time year-round," Gonzalez said. "And now we're a little bit in a pickle.”
Arizona and Hawaii have already nixed the time change by sticking with standard time year-round. And more than a dozen other states want to move permanently to DST, with Florida taking its case to Capitol Hill. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio first introduced the Sunshine Protection Act in 2018, which would move the entire country to permanent, year-round daylight saving time.
Critics of the twice-yearly time change say it disrupts our sleep schedule and has serious implications for public health.
DST started Sunday at 2 a.m. and lasts until Nov. 7.
Sammy Caiola contributed to this report.
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