Many Americans dread the changing of our clocks twice a year, but the ritual could become a thing of the past if the U.S. adopts permanent daylight saving time.
When daylight saving time ends, people in states that observe it will turn their clocks back one hour. That means there will be more daylight during winter mornings and less in the evening.
Lawmakers have introduced legislation to make daylight saving time permanent throughout the country, citing health and economic benefits. As the end of daylight saving time approaches in 2022, several VERIFY readers have emailed the team to ask if the U.S. government has officially made it permanent.
Has the U.S. government made daylight saving time permanent?
No, the U.S. government hasn’t made daylight saving time permanent.
WHAT WE FOUND
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Sunshine Protection Act, which was reintroduced in 2021 by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), on March 15, 2022. Rubio previously introduced the Sunshine Protection Act in 2019.
The legislation would make daylight saving time the permanent standard time throughout the country starting on Nov. 5, 2023. That means we wouldn’t change our clocks, or “fall back,” in November and would have a full year of daylight saving time instead of only eight months.
But the bill has some hoops to jump through before daylight saving time is the norm for everyone.
As of Nov. 1, 2022, the bill hasn’t moved forward in the U.S. House. The bill needs House passage before President Joe Biden could sign it into law.
That means people in U.S. states that observe daylight saving time will still move their clocks back one hour on Nov. 6, 2022.
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) explains on its website that federal law doesn’t allow full-time daylight saving time, so Congress needs to act before states can adopt changes. Federal law does allow states to exempt themselves from daylight saving time upon action by the state legislature.
Florida lawmakers passed legislation to enact year-round daylight saving time in 2018, pending a change to federal law. More than a dozen other U.S. states have also passed laws, resolutions or voter initiatives aimed at doing the same.
Hawaii and Arizona – except for the Navajo Nation – are the only U.S. states that don’t observe daylight saving time. The territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands don’t observe daylight saving time either.
Rubio said states and territories that currently remain on year-round standard time would continue to do so if the Sunshine Protection Act is passed into law.
The U.S. hasn’t always had set rules for daylight saving time. When World War I ended in 1945, the law instating national daylight saving time was repealed so states could establish their own standard time, according to the Department of Defense (DOD).
More from VERIFY: Yes, the U.S. has tried year-round daylight saving time before
The lack of rules for daylight saving time led to “confusion for the transportation and broadcast industries,” the DOD said, leading Congress to pass the Uniform Time Act in 1966. The act established a national standard time and daylight saving time from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.
The dates to “spring” forward and “fall” back have since been changed. In 2005, former President George W. Bush implemented the current policy that extended daylight saving time by several weeks. Daylight saving time currently begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.
The U.S. has also tried permanent daylight saving time before. In December 1973, former President Richard Nixon signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act, which placed the country on daylight saving time beginning Jan. 6, 1974. Nixon made the move in response to what he called an “energy crisis” in the country.
Dark mornings began to wear on people and year-round daylight saving time was scrapped in the fall of 1974, with clocks falling back on Oct. 27, the San Jose Mercury News reported in 2016.
More from VERIFY: Yes, states can opt out of daylight saving time