ST. GEORGE — Every year the time across the majority of the United States springs forward an hour and then jumps back six months later in the seemingly never-ending dance of daylight saving time. Over the years, efforts have been made to do away with the time change, with Utah’s newest congresswoman being the latest to try to change the law.

In this file photo, Celeste Maloy speaks to St. George News while running for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, St. George, Utah, July 26, 2023 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Congresswoman Celeste Maloy’s office announced Monday that the Utah Republican has reintroduced the Daylight Act, which would allow states to observe daylight saving time year-round.

“Americans are tired of springing forward and losing sleep and falling back and losing sunlight,” Maloy said in a press release. “Dozens of states, including Utah, have already passed laws to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. The federal government needs to get out of the way and allow them to make that choice instead of mandating the needless practice of changing our clocks twice a year.”

Former Congressman Chris Stewart attempted similar legislation in 2021. Members of the Senate have also run bills that would do away with the time change, such as Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio with the Sunshine Protection Bill. The Senate passed the bill in 2022 yet it was never passed by the House. Rubio reintroduced the bill in 2023, but it has seen no major movement since.

While Utah and other states have passed laws to end the time change, they cannot go into effect unless Congress changes federal statutes.

Some people love the time change, others hate it

Stock image, St. George News

Many people have a love-hate relationship with the biannual time change.

Those involved in the outdoor recreation and tourism industry often praise daylight saving time because it provides an extra hour of lucrative sunlight for people to spend extra time golfing, hiking, shopping and the like.

However, opponents argue daylight saving time can be a health hazard, as the time change disrupts circadian rhythms. Beyond being a nuisance for employees who have to get to work an hour earlier or parents dealing with children who won’t go to sleep at their normal time, disrupted circadian rhythms can pose more serious consequences for others.

According to Maloy’s office, a variety of studies show that extending daylight saving time would improve everything from health and wellbeing to the economy. Some of the benefits include:

Less crime: A 2015 Brookings Institution study found a 27% drop in robberies because of additional daylight in the evenings.
Lower energy bills: A 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Energy found 0.5% savings in electricity per day when daylight saving was extended.
Increased economic activity: A JP Morgan Chase study found a decrease in spending by consumers at the end of Daylight Saving Time.
Reduced health risks: Several studies have shown an increase in heart attacks, strokes, workplace injuries and depression following the time change each spring. Hospitals report a 24% spike in heart-attack visits after the spring forward.
Fewer car crashes: There are more fatal car crashes caused by sleepy drivers losing an hour of sleep in the spring. One study found that from 2002-2011, the time change caused over 30 deaths.

A little history

WWI-era poster promoting daylight saving time, Date unknown | Public domain photo, St. George News

Starting on April 30, 1916, Germany and its World War I ally Austria-Hungary were the first to use daylight saving time as a way to conserve coal during wartime. Britain, most of its allies and many European neutrals soon followed suit. Russia and a few other countries waited until the next year, and the United States adopted it in 1918.

During the energy crisis of the 1970s, Congress passed an act keeping daylight saving time year-round. That lasted from Jan. 6, 1974, to Feb. 23, 1975, when the order was rescinded, allowing standard time to return Oct. 27, 1975.

Hawaii is the only state that has fully opted out of daylight saving time. The majority of Arizona also does not observe it. However, the Navajo Nation, which is primarily situated in Arizona and extends into Utah and New Mexico, does observe the time change. The Hopi Nation, surrounded by the Navajo Nation, does not observe daylight saving time.

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