A year ago, hope soared among those who loathe the biannual time change. Through a procedure known as unanimous consent, the U.S. Senate approved the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 (S 623), making daylight saving time the new standard time across the nation. This would have mirrored the policy changes enacted in 19 states through legislation or resolution over the last five years.
But the time was not ripe for such a change: The U.S. House of Representatives did not act on the issue, though a hearing shed more light on it.
On Feb. 28, the 2023 version of the Sunshine Protection Act saw reintroduction in the Senate, with a companion measure also introduced in the House.
State legislatures have been attentive to the topic, having considered more than 500 bills or resolutions in the last nine years to address time change concerns. Since 2018, 19 states by bill or resolution acted to make daylight saving time year-round in their states if Congress were to allow such a change; in some cases, surrounding states would have to enact the same legislation.
Arizona and Hawaii, along with the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, observe permanent standard time as allowed by current federal law.
Nineteen states have acted to make daylight saving time year-round.
- 2022: Colorado
- 2021: Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi (resolution) and Montana
- 2020: Idaho, Louisiana, Ohio (resolution), South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming
- 2019: Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington (2019)
- 2018: Florida; California voters also authorized such a change in 2018, but legislative action is pending.
The 2023 state legislative sessions find DST on policy agendas in 22 states, where 50 bills and resolutions are pending. Bills in Virginia and Wyoming were voted down.
In Wyoming, HR 246 failed in the House Transportation Committee in February. The bill would have placed Wyoming on year-round standard time, as allowed by federal law. Existing law, enacted in 2020, puts Wyoming on Mountain Daylight Time year-round, if passed by Congress. That law also requires four neighboring states—Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah—to enact similar bills, which they have done.
This year, 23 of the introduced bills would authorize permanent daylight time (if passed by Congress), and 15 bills would put the state on standard time year-round, which is currently allowed by the federal Uniform Time Act. Competing bills are in play in several states, including Connecticut, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Vermont.
Legislation in Maine, New York and Virginia calls for studies of the potential impact of making either daylight time or standard time permanent. Texas is considering 13 bills and resolutions that cover all sides of the issue, including proposals for statewide referendums allowing voters to indicate a preference for observing daylight saving time or standard time year-round.
The national debate and state-specific initiatives are continuing into 2023. For the foreseeable future, clock changing remains the law of the land in all but a few places. So, once again, the nation will lose an hour of sleep on March 12 as clocks spring forward.
This 2020 report by the Congressional Research Service gives a detailed overview of the background, history and regulation of daylight saving time, including a summary of the studies on potential impacts.
For comprehensive background on state legislation, the history of DST and perspectives on both sides of the issue, visit the NCSL Daylight Saving Time State Legislation webpage.
Jim Reed directs the NCSL Environment, Energy and Transportation Program.