While a bill to make daylight saving time permanent in the U.S. is making its way through Congress, a separate bill has been introduced in the House that would give states the power to lock their clocks.
Under the Uniform Time Act of 1966, states can choose not to observe daylight saving time – the time between March and November – but can’t choose to stay on daylight saving time year-round.
However, many states have enacted legislation that would put them on permanent daylight saving time if Congressional action gives them the opportunity. A new bill introduced by Representative Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) hopes to do just that.
Rogers’ bill, introduced earlier this month, would give states the power to stay on daylight saving time year-round.
“Remaining on Daylight Saving time could have tremendous benefits for the economy and people’s health. Furthermore, changing our clocks twice a year is an unnecessary and outdated nuisance,” Rogers said in a statement Monday.
The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
What states are awaiting Congressional approval?
At least 19 states have already enacted legislation or resolutions to stay on daylight saving time permanently, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Those states include Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. California voters authorized a change but legislative action has yet to happen.
Legislators in Arkansas and Oklahoma have introduced bills to remain on daylight saving time permanently if Congress allows states to make such a choice. The bill introduced in Arkansas was later withdrawn.
Lawmakers in Nebraska introduced a similar bill but would also need a third neighboring state to pass a law on the matter, according to the Nebraska Examiner. New Mexico lawmakers are considering two pieces of legislation – one to keep the state on standard time, the other to make daylight saving time permanent if all or part of Texas (specifically, El Paso County, Texas) passes a similar law. In Texas, lawmakers are hoping to pass a resolution that would put the choice between permanent standard time or permanent daylight saving time up to voters in November.
Virginia’s state Senate failed to pass a bill last month that would’ve moved the state to year-round daylight saving time. The bill’s author, Republican Senator Richard H. Stuart, said his reason for bringing it forward was because he’s “really tired of changing the clocks twice a year.”
Sen. Rubio’s bill, which received bipartisan support, was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Representative Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) introduced companion legislation in the House which has also been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Should Rep. Rogers’ bill become law, it’s unclear how soon states could observe daylight saving time year-round.