In 2018, it felt like this issue was settled: California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 7, signaling that they were ready to do away with seasonal time changes.
But that policy got gummed up in the workings of California’s government, and here we are in March 2022 getting ready to “spring forward” to daylight saving time once again. Most of America will lose an hour of sleep when clocks move forward from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Sunday. And right now there’s no sign that we won’t have to “fall back” to standard time once again in November.
So what gives? Prop. 7, which passed with about 60% of the vote, only gave state lawmakers permission to commit to a daylight saving or standard time schedule year-round. That is different from compelling them to, and so far lawmakers haven’t come together to iron out the details.
In order to make that change, such a proposal first needs to pass through the state legislature by a two-thirds vote. Lawmakers need to agree on either daylight saving time or standard time and then push through a measure to stick with it permanently.
If they do that, they could still need approval from the federal government. Current U.S. law doesn’t allow states to commit to daylight saving time year-round, it only permits switching to standard full-time. Congress would have to change that policy for California if the Golden State decided to go that direction.
State lawmakers have tried and failed to pass measures that at least move things on to the federal stage. A new effort, from Republican Asm. Steven Choi, was proposed just last month.
California isn’t alone in its time-change futility. Since 2015, at least 350 bills and resolutions regarding daylight saving have been introduced in nearly every state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Hardly any have passed.
On the national level, there are currently three proposed bills in Congress regarding daylight saving time:
- H.R. 5826, which would allow states to elect to observe year-round daylight saving time.
- H.R. 5906, the DAYLIGHT Act, to allow states to observe daylight saving time year-round.
- S. 623, the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, to make daylight saving time the new, permanent standard time.
Two states don’t turn back their clocks at all: Hawaii and Arizona, which both permanently observe standard time.
Nexstar Media Wire’s Addy Bink contributed to this report.